Gang Problem at Worst Level Since 1990s

By Laura Spadanuta

The U.S. Department of Justice has released highlights of the Institute for Intergovernmental Research's 2007 update of the National Youth Gang Survey.  The update found that more than one-third of the areas studied experienced a gang problem in 2007, which is the highest estimate since before 2000.

The survey results indicate that there were 788,000 active gang members and 27,000 active gangs in the United States in 2007.  Although the gang problem declined in the late 1990s and early 2000s, it has been experiencing a resurgence in recent years. 

Among the notable findings:

  • In rural counties, the number of gang-problem jurisdictions increased by nearly one-quarter
  • larger cities remain the primary location for gang problems and members; nearly 60 percent of gangs and 80 percent of gang members are in large cities
  • one in five larger cities reported an increase in gang homicides in 2007
  • two in five larger cities reported an increase in violent offenses by gang members in 2007

The updates will be added to the Institute for Intergovernmental Research's National Youth Gang Survey Analysis.  The survey is produced by the National Youth Gang Center, which is operated by the IIR on behalf of the DOJ's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.


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