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Gangs Programs at a Glance
Total Number of Programs: 20

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Gangs Practice Outcomes at a Glance
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. 



OJP Publications

A Law Enforcement Official's Guide to the OJJDP Comprehensive Gang Model, OJJDP-Sponsored, March 2017

Live Fast, Die Young: Anticipated Early Death and Adolescent Violence and Gang Involvement, NIJ-Sponsored, 2016

National Gang Center Newsletter, Fall 2016, OJJDP-Sponsored, December 2016

Gangs and Sex Trafficking in San Diego, NIJ, September 2016

Estimating the Underground Commercial Sex Economy in the U.S., NIJ, August 2016

More OJP Publications

Questions and Answers

How many homicides in the United States are known to be gang-related?
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Where can I find gang prevention and intervention strategies for law enforcement personnel?
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Is there a newsletter or listserv that focuses specifically on gangs and related issues?
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