Youth Gang Drug Trafficking and Homicide: Policy and Program Implications (2022)

This article was prepared under an award made by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention to the National Youth Gang Center at the Institute for Intergovernmental Research in Tallahassee. It is based on a detailed report by the author for the National Youth Gang Center entitled "Youth Gang Homicides and Drug Trafficking."

Notes

    The term "youth gang" is commonly used interchangeably with "street gang," referring to neighborhood or street-based youth groups, generallyin the age range from 10 to 26. Youth gangs are commonly defined as "a self-formed association of peers, united by mutual interests, with identifiable leadership and internal organization, who act collectively or as individuals to achieve specific purposes, including the conduct of illegal activity and control of a particular territory, facility, or enterprise" (Miller, 1982, p. 21). Motorcycle gangs, prison gangs, and racial supremacists and other hate groups are excluded.

    Law enforcement agencies define gang homicides differently (see Maxson and Klein, 1990). In the broader definition, the basic element is evidence of gang membership on the side of either the suspect or the victim; that is, gang-related. In the narrower definition, a homicide is considered to be a gang crime only if the preponderance of evidence indicates that the incident grew out of a street gang function; that is, gang-motivated.

    A report on gang homicides, based on a national survey, is forthcoming from the National Youth Gang Center.

    The prosecutor who files a case is responsible for it throughout the prosecution process.

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