While researching for my latest release,Fear No Evil , I found the gang statistics to be sickening.
The following was found from National Gang Crime Research Center
of the Gangs and Guns Task Force Research Report
Six gang researchers at three universities collaborated to carry out an extensive study of gangs and guns in the midwest involving 1,206 survey respondents which included 505 gang members. Four social contexts were used for the survey: eight county jails from the farmland to the urban central area (891 inmates), matched pair design samples from a Chicago public high school and an inner city program, and a sample of gang members in a private suburban probation program.
I. The jail study showed:
*** Gang problems in the midwest show a large "ripple effect" where many variables show the consistent effect of increasing in magnitude the closer one is to the urban central area, and decreasing in severity through the outlying areas and heartland to its lowest level in the farmland areas.
*** Gang membership is a variable that significantly differentiates many variables about firearms, violence, behaviors and beliefs.
*** Gang membership can be predicted with 81 percent accuracy using discriminant analysis.
*** Gang density, that is the percentage of inmates who are gang members, using a more restrictive definition of gangs, showed percentages two to ten times higher than the parameter estimated in a recent federal national assessment of gangs in corrections.
II. The high school study showed:
*** Some 87 gang members were matched with 87 demographically identical non-gang members.
*** These are essentially the same gangs represented in other social contexts studied.
*** The gang member profile is similar to that found in other social contexts.
III. The probation program study showed:
*** Some 69 gang members in a suburban-based probation had much the same "gang profile" as elsewhere, but with some new important twists.
*** Fewer suburban gang members originally joined the gang primarily "to make money", but did so mostly for essentially social rather than economic reasons. They are atypical in this regard compared to the jail inmate gang member.
IV. The inner city program study showed:
*** Some 36 gang members were matched with 36 demographically identical non-gang members.
*** The gang member profile is comparable to that found in other social contexts.
V. A Combined Analysis of Gang Members in All Contexts showed:
*** There is no difference on most variables when comparing "Peoples" and "Folks" gang members. That is, on most human traits they are they same thing differing only symbolically, not objectively.
*** There is little difference in the basic gang member profile about guns and violence across social contexts. Gang members show the higher risk profile regardless of social context.
*** A gang risk continuum exists showing a consistent violence escalation effect from the lowest level of risk (non-gang member with no gang friends) to the highest level (active gang member).
*** An analysis of factors associated with gang members who attempt to leave the gang was made. This showed, generally, a hardening effect; where the gang member who has never attempted to quit the gang appears to have a higher commitment to the gang, and is consistently more 'hard core' in regard to findings about gun crimes and gun violence.
VI. Conclusions include the following:
*** It is possible to profile individual gangs by threat analysis. For example, weapons access, acquisition, and usage patterns, level of violence threat (i.e., police shoot-outs), and related variables of interest. But research on a larger scale would have to be done to ensure specific gang identity sample development. The ideal design would ensure at least 100 members of each gang organization of interest.
*** The research findings reported here about gang density demand a serious national assessment of gangs in corrections be undertaken, because a recent federal report is believed to grossly underestimate the problem to the point of mathematical fantasy.