skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 164273 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Addressing Community Gang Problems: A Practical Guide
Series: BJA Monographs
Author(s): J Stedman; D L Weisel
Corporate Author: Police Executive Research Forum (PERF)
United States of America
Date Published: 1998
Page Count: 228
Sponsoring Agency: Bureau of Justice Assistance
Washington, DC 20531
National Institute of Justice/NCJRS
Rockville, MD 20849
NCJRS Photocopy Services
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
Police Executive Research Forum (PERF)
Washington, DC 20036
Contract Number: 91-DD-CX-K058
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/NCJRS
Box 6000
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America

NCJRS Photocopy Services
Box 6000
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
United States of America
Document: PDF|Text
Type: Policy/Procedure Handbook/Manual
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: A community problem-solving model applicable to gangs is described that is referred to as SARA (scanning, analysis, response, and assessment) and that considers gang involvement in drugs and violence, graffiti, needs assessment, strategic planning, and civil remedies for gang-related harm.
Abstract: Communities initiate the problem-solving process by searching for and identifying gang problems (scanning). The second step involves investigating specific gang problems in greater detail (analysis). Communities can then develop an action plan (response) and evaluate that plan's effectiveness (assessment). To aid in the problem-solving process, three criteria have been developed for defining a gang: community recognition of a group, group recognition of itself as a distinct group of adolescents or young adults, and group involvement in enough illegal activities to get a consistent negative response from law enforcement and neighborhood residents. While gang violence has escalated and gang involvement in drugs has been a feature of gang life for many years, gangs are increasingly and almost exclusively blamed for drug and violence problems of the past decade. Gangs and the media both benefit from exaggerated portrayals of gangs and gang life. The best possible explanation of the relationship between gangs and violence is that it depends primarily on the gang's organization. Gang graffiti tells police officers who is in what gang, territories claimed by gangs, and what gangs are trying to move or expand. Quick removal of graffiti is a standard anti-graffiti recommendation, the underlying idea being that graffiti artists will tire of having their work obliterated and give up. In planning a comprehensive solution to gang problems, a needs assessment is often the first step. Needs assessment involves laying the groundwork, identifying current gang activities, identifying and setting priorities, and developing a consensus. In addition, communities with existing or emerging gang problems should plan, develop, and implement comprehensive, harm-specific responses that include a broad range of community-based components. Civil remedies are available to deal with gang-related harm, and the best chance of obtaining swift legal action against gangs is to bring matters before courts of limited jurisdiction. Community evaluation of antigang efforts provides valuable information for decision-makers, documents efforts so they may be replicated elsewhere, and enables public agencies to justify gang prevention program costs. 134 references and 51 exhibits
Main Term(s): Juvenile/Youth Gangs
Index Term(s): BJA Grant-related Documents; Civil remedies; Community crime prevention programs; Community involvement; Gang Prevention; Gang violence; Graffiti; Juvenile program needs assessment; Media coverage; Program evaluation; Program planning
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.