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Gang Activity and Prevalence

Gang members commit a higher percentage of crime than non-gang members.[1] More than half of state and local law enforcement agencies reported gang activity in their jurisdictions in 2008.[2] Both law enforcement reports and self-reported data indicate that gangs commit more than three-quarters of crime in many communities.[3]

Longitudinal studies (i.e., research that follows a subject for many years) highlight the long-term negative consequences of gang membership even when that membership lasts for as little as one year during adolescence. For example, gang members are more likely to drop out of school, become pregnant during adolescence or have unstable employment.[4]

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Notes

[1] Klein, M.W., and Maxson, C.L. Street Gang Patterns and Policies, New York: Oxford Universi‚Äčty Press, 2006.

[2] National Gang Intelligence Center and National Drug Intelligence Center, National Gang Threat Assessment, Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice, National Gang Intelligence Center and National Drug Intelligence Center, 2009. Retrieved December 2, 2010.

[3] National Gang Intelligence Center and National Drug Intelligence Center, National Gang Threat Assessment, Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice, National Gang Intelligence Center and National Drug Intelligence Center, 2009; Thornberry, T.P.,"Membership in Youth Gangs and Involvement in Serious and Violent Offending, " in R. Loeber and D.P. Farrington (eds.), Serious and Violent Juvenile Offenders: Risk Factors and Successful Interventions, Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage Publications, 1998.
Note that Thornberry's analysis of self-reported data speaks to violent crime, and the National Gang Intelligence Center's analysis of law enforcement reports speaks to crime generally.

[4] Thornberry, T.P., Krohn, M.D., Lizotte, A.J., Smith, C.A., and Tobin, K., Gangs and Delinquency in Developmental Perspective, New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003.

Date Modified: January 10, 2012