"The '1995 National Youth Gang Survey', conducted by the National Youth Gang Center (NYGC), is the first of what is intended to be an annual survey that will allow comparisons of changes and trends in coming years. The results of this survey confirm what earlier studies had suggested--that there has been a growth in the pervasiveness of the Nation's youth gang problem over time. NYGC contacted more than 4,000 agencies--the largest number ever surveyed. Reports and estimates from responding agencies indicate that there were more than 660,000 youth gang members and more than 23,000 gangs active in their jurisdictions during 1995. Although these are the largest totals reported to date, the actual numbers are likely to be higher. Not all law enforcement agencies were surveyed, some of those surveyed did not participate, and the data were not extrapolated. While, therefore, the youth gang problem is undoubtedly larger than the survey indicates, the data NYGC has gathered provide information that has significance at both a national and community level. The survey found, for example, that gang activities are spreading to smaller communities and rural counties. The survey also found that no State, and few major cities, are gang-free. Nearly all agencies that reported a gang problem felt that the severity of the problem would either remain the same or grow worse."
National Criminal Justice Reference Service: http://www.ncjrs.gov/