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The NCJRS Abstracts Database contains abstracts of more than 200,000 criminal justice, juvenile justice, and substance abuse resources housed within the NCJRS Library. Search the NCJRS Abstracts Database for resources on this topic.
Gangs Programs at a Glance
Total Number of Programs: 18

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Gangs Practice Outcomes at a GlanceNew
Total Number of Practices: 1

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Crime & Crime Prevention


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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OJP Publications

Evaluation of a Comprehensive Approach to Reducing Gun Violence in Detroit, NIJ-Sponsored, 2014
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Process and Outcome Evaluation of the G.R.E.A.T. Program, NIJ-Sponsored, 2013
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Changing Course: Preventing Gang Membership - Executive Summary, NIJ,Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, September 2013

Changing Course: Preventing Gang Membership, NIJ, September 2013
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Changing Course: Keeping Kids Out of Gangs, NIJ, December 2013

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Questions and Answers

How prevalent are juvenile gangs in the United States?
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Where can I find data on juvenile gang activity in the United States?
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How can I learn about effective crime prevention programs?
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