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Gang Structures, Crime Patterns, and Police Responses: A Summary Report

NCJ Number
Date Published
April 1996
16 pages
Publication Series
This study provides data on how street gang crime patterns relate to common patterns of street gang structure.
This is a summary of a study that sought to provide focused, databased guidelines for gang intervention and control. It also attempted to estimate the national prevalence of various types of gang structures and of the perceived patterns of associated criminal activity. In addition, it attempted to construct crime profiles--both amount and pattern--for each of the most common gang structures. Data sources included law enforcement gang experts in 59 cities and information from 110 candidate cities regarding capacities to furnish crime data linked to different types of gangs. The study presented the following conclusions: (1) if the nation was to base gang control policies on police-recorded gang data, a major effort will be needed to assist law enforcement in accurately reflecting the nature of gang arrests; (2) policies already in place, both locally and nationally, to the extent that they were based on officially reported gang crime patterns, and were also based on inadequately collected and reported information; and (3) accurate gang crime depictions should, in most cities, start with ethnographic procedures. The study cautioned the users of the data that the gang typology which emerged was time-limited and may have captured a brief movement in a period of major gang evolutionary change. Figures

Date Published: April 1, 1996