National Criminal Justice Reference Service
Added to archive: May, 2004
Gangs - Facts and Figures
The latest information and statistics pulled from a
wide variety of Gangs publications.
"The overall number of youth gang homicides in U.S. cities declined
during the 1990s, but trends varied in the early and later parts of the
decade and by city" (Youth
Gang Homicides in the 1990s, 2001).
Two nationwide surveys conducted of law enforcement agencies in 1996 and
1998 estimated that "11 percent and 8 percent respectively of all gang
members were female" (Female
Gangs: A Focus on Research, 2001).
According to the Highlights
of the 2001 National Youth Gang Survey, "sixty-three percent of
gang-problem jurisdictions reported the return of gang members from
confinement to their jurisdictions in 2001. More than two-thirds (69
percent) of these jurisdictions reported that gang members returning from
confinement considerably affected their jurisdictions' gang problem in 2001.
A large proportion of these jurisdictions reported that returning members
noticeably contributed to an increase in violent crime (63 percent of
respondents) and drug trafficking (68 percent) by local gangs."
"Eighty-four jurisdictions (including 63 larger cities) said their
gang problem began before 1981, and 72 (including 54 larger cities) said
their problem began between 1981 and 1985. Of all jurisdictions that
responded to the year-of-onset question in 1996, 53 percent reported onset
during 1991-96 (20 percent in 1991-92, 25 percent in 1993-94, and 8 percent
in 1995-96), 33 percent during 1986- 90, 6 percent during 1981-85, and 8
percent before 1981" (Modern
Day Youth Gangs, 2002).
In 1996, 50 percent of gang members were juveniles (i.e., younger than 18)
and 50 percent were adults (i.e., 18 and older). In 1999, these numbers were
37 percent and 63 percent, respectively. In 1999, respondents reported that
47 percent of gang members were Hispanic, 31 percent African American, 13
percent white, 7 percent Asian, and 2 percent "other" (National
Youth Gang Survey Trends From 1996 to 2000, 2002).