Welcome to DoSomething.org, a global movement of 5.5 million young people making positive change, online and off! The 11 facts you want are below, and the sources for the facts are at the very bottom of the page. After you learn something, do something! Find out how to take action here.

  1. A gang is a group of people who claim a territory and use it to make money through illegal activities (i.e., drug trafficking). Community organizations can reduce gang activity, so host a basketball tournament at your local Boys & Girls Club. Sign up for Off-the-Street Ball.
  2. Gangs can be organized based upon race, ethnicity, territory, or money-making activities, and are generally made up of members ages 8 to 22.
  3. Members of gangs wear specific articles of clothing to be recognized as part of the group such as bandanas, hats, scarves of certain colors, or gang-related tattoos or symbols.
  4. Gangs are one of the leading factors for growth of violent crimes both on and off school property.
  5. When joining a gang, often times there is an initiation that needs to be passed. This initiation is usually a violent crime that could include theft, murder, gang-rape, or drive-by shootings.

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  1. Gang members are more likely to be arrested or involved with drugs and alcohol than non-gang members.
  2. 86% of US cities with a population of 100,000 or more report gang activity.
  3. According to the FBI in 2011, there were 33,000 violent street, motorcycle, and prison gangs active in the U.S., with more than 1.4 million members (a 40% increase from 2009).
  4. In recent years, gangs are participating in more non-traditional crimes such as prostitution, alien smuggling, and human trafficking, identity theft, and mortgage fraud. These new, non-traditional crimes create higher profitability and lower visibility.
  5. According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Newark, Oakland and Oklahoma City – are the U.S. capitals of gang homicide.
  6. Neighborhood-based gangs pose the highest rate of significant threat for violent crimes in the U.S, versus national-level street gangs, prison gangs, and outlaw motorcycle gangs.

Sources

  • 1

    USA.gov. "What Is a Gang? Definitions." National Institute of Justice. Accessed April 7, 2014. .

  • 2

    USA.gov. "What Is a Gang? Definitions." National Institute of Justice. Accessed April, 7, 2014. .

  • 3

    Howell, Ph.D., James C., Arlen Egley, Jr., Ph.D, and Christina O’Donnell. "Frequently Asked Questions About Gangs." National Gang Center. Accessed April 7, 2014. .

  • 4

    Grabianowski, Ed. "How Street Gangs Work." HowStuffWorks. Accessed April 7, 2014. .

  • 5

    Carlie PhD, Michael K.. "The Gang Culture." Into The Abyss: A Personal Journey into the World of Street Gangs. Accessed April 7, 2014. .

  • 6

    Lebrun, Marcel. "Chapter Seven: Violence and Weapons." In Children in crisis: violence, victims, and victories. Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield Education, 2011. 79-94.

  • 7

    Carlie PhD, Michael K.. "How to Join a Gang." Into The Abyss: A Personal Journey into the World of Street Gangs. Accessed April 7, 2014. .

  • 8

    U.S. Department of Justice. "Early Precursors of Gang Membership: A Study of Seattle Youth." National Criminal Justice Reference Center. Accessed April 7, 2014. .

  • 9

    Egley, Jr., Arlen. "National Youth Gang Survey Trends From 1996 to 2000." National Criminal Justice Reference Center. Accessed April 7, 2014. .

  • 10

    U.S. Department of Justice. "2011 National Gang Threat Assessment – Emerging Trends." FBI. Accessed April 7, 2014. .

  • 11

    U.S. Department of Justice. "2011 National Gang Threat Assessment – Emerging Trends." FBI. Accessed April 7, 2014. .

  • 12

    Berg, Nate . "The 5 U.S. Cities With the Worst Gang Violence." The Atlantic. Accessed April 7, 2014. .

  • 13

    U.S. Department of Justice. "Changing Course Preventing Gang Membership." National Criminal Justice Reference Center. Accessed April 7, 2014. .

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