"The largest and most comprehensive national gang survey to date, the 1997 National Youth Gang Survey, conducted by the National Youth Gang Center, contacted nearly 5,000 law enforcement agencies across the country. To allow for both comparative and trend analysis, the 1997 survey used the same sample as the 1996 survey. Survey results indicate that the percentage of jurisdictions reporting active youth gangs decreased from the previous year, from 53 percent in 1996 to 51 percent in 1997. Some 816,000 gang members were active in some 30,500 youth gangs in 1997, a modest decrease from the previous year's figures of 846,000 and 31,000, respectively. Despite these declines, however, there are still serious problems to be addressed. For example, every city with a population of 250,000 or greater reported the presence of youth gangs. In addition, the number of gang members increased in small cities and rural counties, as youth gangs continued to spread beyond the confines of the Nation's major cities."
National Criminal Justice Reference Service: http://www.ncjrs.gov/