"The last quarter of the 20th century was marked by significant growth in youth gang problems across the United States. In the 1970's, less than half the States reported youth gang problems, but by the late 1990's, every State and the District of Columbia reported youth gang activity. In the same period, the number of cities reporting youth gang problems mushroomed nearly tenfold--from fewer than 300 in the 1970's to more than 2,500 in 1998, and the number of counties citing youth gang problems grew even more precipitously, from about 100 in the 1970's to nearly 1,200 in 1998--an increase of more than 1,000 percent. While research conducted over the past three decades has resulted in numerous studies, surveys, and reports addressing various aspects of America's youth gangs, we are indebted to Dr. Walter Miller, the author of this Report, and his collaborators for compiling such a comprehensive study of the growth of youth gang problems in the United States from 1970 to 1998. The Report's trend and rate analyses are used to project prospects for future gang locality trends. While we hope that the Report's 'crystal ball' is clear in seeing a leveling off or even reduction in the prevalence of youth gang problems, we concur wholeheartedly with the author's judgment that comprehensive, quality gang surveys should continue to be conducted to monitor our progress."
United States. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention