Bureau of Justice Statistics Special Report: Gang Units in Large Local Law Enforcement Agencies, 2007 [open pdf - 340KB]
"In 2007, 365 of the nation's large police departments and sheriffs' off ices had specialized gang units, employing more than 4,300 sworn officers dedicated to addressing gang-related activities. Thirty-five percent (35%) of these units were established between 2004 and 2007, suggesting a recent heightened interest in using specialized units to address gang issues. Gangs and gang-related activities are pervasive, nationwide problems. Gangs can contribute to higher violent crime rates, induce community deterioration through behaviors such as vandalism, graffiti, and drug dealing, and increase public fear of victimization. One way for law enforcement agencies to address gang-related problems is to form specialized gang units. The consolidation of an agency's gang enforcement activities and resources into a single unit can allow gang unit officers to develop specific expertise and technical skills related to local gang characteristics, behaviors, and gang prevention and suppression. The 2007 Census of Law Enforcement Gang Units (CLEGU) collected data on 365 local police departments and sheriffs' offices that had 100 or more sworn officers with at least one officer dedicated solely to addressing gang activity. Based primarily on findings from the CLEGU, this report details the types of problems handled by specialized gang units, followed by findings about unit operations, gang officers, and the attributes of the agencies and jurisdictions that contain these specialized units."
Bureau of Justice Statistics: http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/