This Report to Congress on the growth of violent street gangs in suburban areas was requested by the U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Appropriations, in reference to Commerce, Justice, Science, and related Agencies Appropriations Bill 2008 (H. Rept. No. 110-240, July 19, 2007). The report provides a look at the types of gangs, the regions where they operate, and the relationships of these gangs with drug trafficking organizations. A listing of the Department's anti-gang related programs and resources are included in the report.
The National Drug Intelligence Center (NDIC) is gratefully acknowledged for developing the substance of this report. NDIC supports national-level policymakers and the Intelligence Community by preparing strategic analytical studies on the trafficking of illegal drugs and on related illegal activities that pose a threat to the national security of the United States.
The Domestic Gang Landscape
Types of Gangs
Estimated Gang Membership
Suburban Gang Presence
The Growth of Gangs in Suburban Areas
Gang Criminal Activity
National-Level Gang-Drug Trafficking Organization Connections
Gang-Drug Trafficking Organization Connections Affecting Suburban Areas
Cross-Border Criminal Activities
Department of Justice Resources Allocated to Containing Gangs
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Department of Justice Anti-Gang Initiative
Task Force Efforts
Crime Prevention, Reentry and Education Efforts
Department of Justice Efforts to Combat Transnational Gangs
Department of Justice FY 09 Cross-Cut for "Gangs"
Department of Justice FY 09 Cross-Cut for "Project Safe Neighborhood"
Appendix A. Scope and Methodology
1. Definition of Urban, Suburban, and Rural
2. NDIC National Drug Threat Survey
3. NDIC Law Enforcement Interviews
4. Field Program Specialist Collection
Appendix B. National-Level Street, Prison, and Outlaw Motorcycle Gang Profiles
Appendix C. Suspected Connections Between Gangs and Drug Trafficking Organizations
Appendix D. Suburban Communities With Possible Gang Problems
Appendix E. Maps
Map 1. Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Regions.
Map 2. 2007 National Drug Threat Survey respondents within urban, suburban, and rural areas in the United States.
Map 3. Gang involvement in drug distribution within urban, suburban, and rural areas in the United States.
Map 4. Gangs involved in drug distribution in urban, suburban, and rural areas along the Pennsylvania Route 222 corridor.
Map 5. Level of gang involvement in drug activities within urban, suburban, and rural areas in the United States.
Map 6. Gangs involved in drug distribution in urban, suburban, and rural areas of Chicago, Illinois.
Map 7. Gangs involved in drug distribution in urban, suburban, and rural areas of San Diego, California.
Map 8. Gangs involved in drug distribution in urban, suburban, and rural areas of Charlotte, North Carolina.
Map 9. Gangs involved in drug distribution in urban, suburban, and rural areas of Tampa, Florida.
Map 10. Gangs involved in drug distribution in urban, suburban, and rural areas of Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas.
Map 11. Number of street gang members along the U.S.-Mexico border in urban, suburban, and rural areas.
Gangs threaten our society, from city streets to suburban neighborhoods and beyond. They bring a culture of violence and drugs to our doorsteps, creating an atmosphere of fear, diminishing the quality of life, and endangering the safety, well-being, and future of our children. In partnership with state and local authorities as well as community leaders, we must be vigilant in keeping our communities safe from the curse of gang-related crime and violence.
Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey
This Report to Congress on the growth of violent street gangs in suburban areas was requested by the U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Appropriations, in reference to Commerce, Justice, Science, and related Agencies Appropriations Bill 2008 (H. Rept. No. 110-240, July 19, 2007). The report provides a look at the types of gangs, the regions where they operate, and the relationships of these gangs with drug trafficking organizations.
The National Drug Intelligence Center (NDIC) provided substantive gang-related information for this report from their 2007 National Drug Threat Survey, along with Field Program Specialist Intelligence Reports; federal, state, and local law enforcement reporting; intelligence community reporting; open source reporting; and personal interviews of law enforcement officials by NDIC's intelligence analysts. The key findings from the survey and other reporting efforts are listed below.
In addressing gang-related violence, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has employed a number of prevention, intervention, and suppression strategies that are by design collaborative in nature and are strategically targeted to respond to the unique concerns of law enforcement officials, community groups, and policymakers at the local, regional, national, and international levels. The Department's comprehensive plan to combat gangs across America is twofold: First, prioritize prevention programs to provide America's youth, as well as offenders returning to the community, with opportunities that help them resist gang involvement. Second, ensure robust enforcement policies when gang-related violence does occur. This comprehensive plan to combat gangs and gang violence also recognizes the critical need of local law enforcement and local community groups to continue to work hand in hand on the front lines in the war against gang violence. A listing of the Department's anti-gang-related programs and resources are included in this report.
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Gangs are a threat to public safety in many suburban communities throughout the country, particularly violent urban gangs that have migrated from inner cities to surrounding areas. Gang migration began in the late 1980s and intensified in the 1990s. At present, more than 20,000 gangs consisting of approximately 1 million members exist in the United States. Gangs are present in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and all U.S. territories.
Gangs are responsible for a large number of violent crimes committed each year throughout the country, including homicides. Gang members typically act in concert, planning violent criminal activity to advance their reputation, protect their territory, or expand their operations. However, gang members sometimes arbitrarily commit random acts of violence against unwary citizens. Additionally, planned criminal activities perpetrated by gangs have led to the victimization of many innocent bystanders.
Gangs dominate retail-level drug distribution across the United States and increasingly are becoming involved in wholesale-level drug trafficking through connections with drug trafficking organizations (DTOs). Mexican drug traffickers affiliated with the Federation, the Gulf Cartel, the Juárez Cartel, and the Tijuana Cartel1 maintain working relationships with at least 20 street gangs, prison gangs, and outlaw motorcycle gangs (OMGs) that operate in a number of suburban communities throughout the country--this has significantly increased the availability of illicit drugs in many areas. Moreover, several major Asian criminal organizations and DTOs work closely with at least eight Asian street gangs that operate within suburban locales.
Law enforcement officials face unique challenges in confronting gang-related criminal activity in their respective jurisdictions. Consequently, anti-gang strategies must be particularized to each community. Community-based law enforcement initiatives have had an effect on gang operations in many areas. Law enforcement officials in several areas report that gangs in their jurisdictions are reducing the use of violence in an attempt to avoid law enforcement apprehension. Moreover, successful law enforcement and community initiatives have caused gangs to reduce their level of operations in a number of urban and larger suburban areas. As a consequence, some of these gangs have moved their operations into surrounding communities.
National- and regional-level gangs pose a multi-jurisdictional threat; gang chapters and sets typically maintain cross-jurisdictional connections in multiple states and usually in multiple locations within a state. Gangs are increasingly conducting criminal activity across the U.S.-Mexico and U.S.-Canada borders.
1. The Federation is a cooperating group of Mexican DTOs composed of the Arturo and Hector Beltrán-Leyva, Ignacio Coronel-Villareal, Juan José Esparragosa-Moreno, Joaquín Guzmán-Loera, Armando Valencia-Cornelio, and Ismael Zambada-García Organizations. The Gulf Cartel is composed of the Osiel Cárdenas-Guillén Organization. Since Cárdenas-Guillén's extradition to the United States, leadership of the Gulf Cartel has passed to Heriberto Lazcano-Lazcano, Jorge Eduardo Costilla-Sánchez, and Ezequiel Cárdenas-Guillén. The Juárez Cartel is composed of the Vicente Carrillo-Fuentes Organization. The Tijuana Cartel is composed of the Arellano-Félix Organization.
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