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"Teaching character leadership today
will reduce gang leadership in the future."
The following article was taken from an email we received from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
This fact sheet presents findings from the National Gang Center's National Youth Gang Survey, which collects data from a large, representative sample of local law enforcement agencies to track the size and scope of the national youth gang problem. The fact sheet discusses trends in gang activity, gang membership designation, and anti-gang measures.
Highlights of the 2012 National Youth Gang Survey
Arlen Egley, Jr., James C. Howell, and Meena Harris
This fact sheet provides an overview of the nation’s gang
problem. In 2012, there were an estimated 30,700 gangs
(an increase from 29,900 in 2011) and 850,000 gang
members (an increase from 782,500 in 2011) throughout
3,100 jurisdictions with gang problems (down from 3,300
in 2011). The number of reported gang-related homicides
increased 20 percent from 1,824 in 2011 to 2,363 in 2012.
About the Survey
Since 1996, the National Gang Center, through the
National Youth Gang Survey (NYGS), has collected data
annually from a large, representative sample of local law
enforcement agencies to track the size and scope of gang
activity nationwide. The sample consists of two groups: (1) all
police departments in cities with more than 50,000 residents
(larger cities) and all suburban county police and sheriffs’
departments, and (2) random samples of police departments
in cities with populations between 2,500 and 50,000 (smaller
cities) and rural county sheriffs’ departments.1
This fact sheet summarizes findings from the 2012 survey. Of
the 2,538 survey recipients, 2,199 (87 percent) responded to
Trends in Gang Activity
In 2012, gangs were active in slightly less than 30 percent
of the responding jurisdictions. This estimate has declined
slightly over the past 4 consecutive years and is at the lowest
point in nearly a decade. The decline from 2011 to 2012
can be almost solely attributed to the drop in smaller cities,
where gang prevalence has decreased nearly 10 percentage
points since 2010. Across jurisdiction types, prevalence rates
of gang activity followed a marked decline in the late 1990s,
increased in the early 2000s, and, with the exception of
smaller cities, have generally stabilized in recent years.2
Based on law enforcement reports, in 2012--
• Nearly 30 percent of all responding law enforcement
agencies reported gang activity.
• Slightly fewer jurisdictions experienced gang activity than
in 2011 (3,100 versus 3,300).
• Gang activity remained concentrated primarily in urban
areas, with available indicators suggesting this is occurring
even more in recent years.
• Gang-related homicides increased overall nationally,
partly due to increased reporting by agencies.2 Juvenile Justice Fact Sheet
Approximately 85 percent of larger cities, 50 percent of
suburban counties, and 15 percent of rural counties have
reported gang activity in each of the past four surveys. The
greatest change in recent years has occurred in smaller cities,
where the percentage of agencies reporting gang activity has
significantly declined—approximately 25 percent reported
gang activity in 2012, down from 34 percent in 2010. This
is the lowest rate recorded in more than a decade.
The entire article can be accessed at: