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Crime by Youth Gangs and Groups in the United States

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 1992
This document reprints a report written in 1982 on the problem of youth gang violence and criminal activity in the U.S.

That original report dispelled the popular notion that gang violence was no longer a problem in this country. Based on findings from 26 U.S. cities and metropolitan counties, including interviews with over 450 representatives of police departments, public and private youth service agencies, courts, and other groups, the author found that, compared to youth gangs from previous eras, the gangs of the 1970's tended to be more violent, more likely to use guns, less formally organized, and more active within the public schools. The original research provided baseline national estimates of the numbers, locations, and criminal activities of juvenile and youth gangs, and conceptualized the law-violating youth group as a basic unit in the study of gangs and other forms of collective youth crime. The predictions made in the report have been borne out in the intervening years by empirical data: that absent a new commitment to gang control, the youth gang problem would worsen; that the gang situation in California represents the wave of the future for the rest of the U.S.; that social and economic conditions associated with gangs will not change in a direction that reduces gang crime; and that gun control efforts will be ineffective in decreasing the availability of weapons to youth. 3 charts, 33 tables, and 5 appendixes

Date Published: January 1, 1992