"Your community is not alone if you have an emerging youth gang problem. Many small towns and rural areas are experiencing gang problems for the first time. In other communities, local observers jump to the mistaken conclusion that gangs are present. This may occur because small groups of delinquents are very common, even in the smallest communities. Adolescents enjoy hanging out together, and the reality is that juvenile delinquency is often committed in groups. The visibility of these groups in shopping malls and on street corners and their frequent troublesome behavior may suggest gang involvement. Another factor that may lead to the mistaken conclusion that a gang problem exists is the recent transfusion of gang culture into the larger youth culture. Certain clothing styles and colors commonly worn by gang members have become faddish in the popular youth culture. One need only watch MTV for a short period of time to see the popularity of what once were considered exclusively to be gang symbols. Even if local youths are displaying gang symbols such as the colors of big city gangs, this alone does not necessarily signify a genuine gang problem. Local groups of youths often imitate big city gangs, generally in an attempt to enhance their self-image or to seek popularity and acceptance among their peers"
Institute for Intergovernmental Research: http://www.iir.com/
NYGC Bulletin (June 2005), no.1