Line
Survey Results

Youth gangs and crime

Respondents were asked to indicate which of the following gang crime definitions their agencies used most frequently: member-based, motive-based, or some other definition.
Respondents to the 1998 survey were asked about gang crime definitions, homicides, gang member involvement in criminal activity, use of firearms in assault crimes, and drug gangs. Respondents to the 1996 and 1997 surveys were also asked about homicides, involvement in criminal activity, and drug gangs, and respondents to the 1997 survey were also asked about definitions. Thus, the 1998 survey results can be compared with previous survey results.

Gang crime definitions

To clarify the definitional issues surrounding youth gang crime, respondents were asked to indicate which of the following gang crime definitions their agencies used most frequently: member-based—a crime in which a gang member or members are either the perpetrators or the victims, regardless of the motive; motive-based—a crime committed by a gang member or members in which the underlying reason is to further the interests and activities of the gang; or some other definition as specified. As shown in table 25, a majority (58 percent) of respondents said they used the member-based definition, nearly 32 percent used the motive-based definition, and almost 11 percent said they used some other definition.

Table 25: Youth Gang Crime Definitions Used by Jurisdictions, 1998

Table 26 shows that a majority of jurisdictions in all area types used a member-based definition. A motive-based definition was more common in small cities (37 percent) and rural counties (36 percent) than in large cities (30 percent) and suburban counties (30 percent). Suburban counties and large cities were more likely than other area types to use other definitions (12 percent and 11 percent, respectively).

Table 26: Youth Gang Crime Definitions Used by Jurisdictions, by Area Type, 1998

The use of member-based or motive-based definitions varied by region (see table 27). Law enforcement agencies in the Midwest were most likely to use a member-based definition. Agencies in the Northeast were least likely to use a member-based definition (51 percent) and most likely to use some other definition (16 percent).

Table 27: Youth Gang Crime Definitions Used by Jurisdictions, by Region, 1998

Previous

1998 Youth Gang Survey
OJJDP Summary
November 2000