Youth gangs have been a part of American life since the early
century, but today's gangs are a greater threat to public safety.
are motivated by violence, extortion, intimidation, and the illegal
trafficking of drugs and weapons. They are better organized,
longer, have access to sophisticated weaponry, and are much more
Youth gangs are not simply a big-city or inner-city problem,
nor are they
a problem of a particular race or culture. Gang membership crosses
and racial boundaries. Gangs are spreading to mid-size and smaller
provide attractive alternatives for recruiting members, marketing
offering safety from rival gangs.
Gangs are a national problem -- a national challenge.
illegal gang activity requires a systematic, comprehensive and
approach that incorporates intervention and suppression strategies
prevention. By asserting potent federal criminal statutes along
with the efforts
of federal investigative agencies in cooperation with state and
enforcement, United States Attorneys can take a leadership role in
prosecution of these individuals who threaten the security and
order of our
We're dealing with thirty years of developing social
problems in the
family and on the streets with crime and violence and drugs and
gangs. No one
thought this could be turned around overnight. But I can tell you,
we're beginning to make a difference, and we need to keep
William J. Clinton, President of the United States, Remarks at a
in Philadelphia (October 31, 1994).