This article examines the results of a study merging National Youth Gang Surveys (NYGS) data with economic, demographic, and other data concerning youth gangs in America. The article shows that - contrary to popular belief - gang problems are occurring in communities of all sizes and locations, although they are still most heavily concentrated in medium and large cities. "The prevailing image of youth gangs - with their symbols, colors, and territorial graffiti - is that they are found in the poorest neighborhoods of Americas large cities. Certainly, they are. In recent years, however, such gangs also have been popping up in outlying rural areas, far away from urban decay. A number of assumptions about these rural gangs are popular in the criminal justice research literature. For example, researchers commonly believe that once a youth gang establishes itself in an area, it will be around for quite some time. A study focused on the numbers and locations of gangs in rural America reveals that this and many other assumptions about rural youth gangs are inaccurate."
National Institute of Justice Journal Archive: http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/nij/journals/
National Institute of Justice (July 2004), Issue no. 251