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Gangs Programs at a Glance
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Crime & Crime Prevention

Gangs

There is no single, universally accepted definition of a “gang.” Many state and local jurisdictions have developed statutory definitions. The following are common criteria for classifying a group as a gang.

  • The group has three or more members, generally aged 12–24.
  • Members share an identity, typically linked to a name, and often other symbols.
  • Members view themselves as a gang, and they are recognized by others as a gang.
  • The group has some permanence and a degree of organization.
  • The group is involved in an elevated level of criminal and/or delinquent activity.

This definition refers to what some call “street gangs” and does not generally include organized crime groups, hate groups, or groups driven exclusively by ideology. 

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