DOJ Study: Urban Gangs Step Up Activity


The U.S. Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) has released highlights of its 2007 national youth gang survey. More than one third of the jurisdictions in the study experienced gang problems in 2007, the highest annual estimate since before 2000.

These survey results also indicate that an estimated 788,000 gang members and 27,000 gangs were active in the United States in 2007. In rural counties, the number of gang problem jurisdictions increased by nearly one quarter, and the overall number of gangs and gang members increased by 64 percent and 36 percent, respectively, between 2002 and 2007.

That said, larger cities and suburban counties remain the primary location of gangs and gang members, accounting for more than 60 percent of gangs and 80 percent of gang members, with rural counties accounting for a relatively small percentage of each. Gang violence was most likely to occur in larger cities and suburban counties, with smaller cities and rural counties disproportionately reporting no incidence of gang related homicides, aggravated assaults, robberies, or firearm use in 2007. Moreover, one in five larger cities reported an increase in gang homicides in 2007 compared with 2006, and approximately two in five reported an increase in other violent offenses by gang members.

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