This report presents the results of an assessment of the adequacy of law enforcement antigang information resources. Data set archived by the NIJ Data Resources Program at the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data, located at URL http://www.icpsr.umich.edu/nacjd.
A survey of police departments in the largest 79 U.S. cities shows that perception of the presence of gang and gang-like problems is widespread. Comparisons of 1992 data with previous studies of the national-level gang problem show statistically significant increases in the number of city police departments who report gang problems over time. An examination of how information is maintained and reported reveals major needs for technical assistance in information-system management by local police departments. This is necessary for an accurate assessment of the national-level gang problem. There was considerable variation in the ways that police departments identify what constitutes a gang in their respective jurisdictions. The inability of many police departments to produce quantitative measures of the dimensions of the gang problem carries over into efforts to assess the gang problem in sociodemographic terms. Only eight of the 71 cities that maintained information on gang members provided annual breakdowns of gang-related incidents by adult and juvenile offenders. The report recommends greater attention to gang-related crime data in addition to gang and member data. Records should specify social demographic characteristics of gang offenders that are relevant to policymaking, program planning, and decisionmaking. Localities should link management- information-system structures to routine and uniform standards of evaluation at the local and national levels. 22 tables, 54 references, and appended survey questionnaire and listing of survey respondents