Facts About Gangs

A gang is a group of people who claim a territory and use it to make money through illegal activities (i.e. drug trafficking).

Gangs can be organized based upon race, ethnicity, territory, or money-making activities, and are generally made up of members ages 8 to 22.

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.

Gangs are one of the leading factors for growth of violent crimes both on and off school property.

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.

Gang members are more likely to be arrested or involved with drugs and alcohol than non-gang members.

86 percent of U.S. cities with a population of 100,000 or more report gang activity.

According to the FBI there are 33,000 violent street, motorcycle, and prison gangs active in the U.S., with more than 1.4 million members (a 40 percent increase from 2009).

In recent years, gangs are participating in more non-traditional crimes such as prostitution, alien smuggling, and human trafficking, as well as white-collar crimes like counterfeiting, identity theft, and mortgage fraud. These new, non-traditional crimes create higher profitability and lower visibility.

California, New Mexico, Nevada, Illinois, and Idaho have the highest concentration of gang members, with more than 6,000 per state.

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.

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