2009 Gang Threat Assessment
The Gang Threat
Gangs are morphing, multiplying, and migrating—entrenching themselves not just in our inner cites but increasingly in our ever-sprawling suburbs and wide-open rural spaces. In some communities, they are responsible for as much as a staggering 80 percent of all crimes. They are selling drugs to your kids, shooting up your neighborhoods, invading your homes, robbing your banks and stores, stealing your identities and money, and sowing plenty of fear and violence along the way.
There are gangs in the military…gangs in prison…gangs all over the Internet (recruiting, communicating, intimidating)…gangs on Native American reservations…and gangs on motorcycles roving the countryside. More and more women are joining gangs, too, sometimes leading their own subsets of larger criminal groups.
At last count (this past September), our nation had at least 20,000 gangs with at least one million total members from coast to coast.
These conclusions—and many more—are all part of the just released National Gang Threat Assessment 2009.
Now matter how you slice it—locally, regionally, nationally—it’s a sobering portrait. And well worth reading for its insights, statistics, and predictions…whether you are a law enforcement professional, a community leader, an educator, a social services provider, or just a concerned citizen.
The report is based on law enforcement’s collective intelligence—the product specifically of the National Gang Intelligence Center, the National Drug Intelligence Center, and a host of other local, state, and federal agencies.
Besides contributing to this report, we in the FBI—working with our partners more closely than ever—continue to put a lot of time, energy, and resources into tackling the growing gang threat. That includes:
- Synthesizing information on gangs from around the nation and even from around the globe (largely through the National Gang Intelligence Center) and pushing that out as intelligence assessments to our law enforcement partners to help them make cases and get a better handle on local threats;
- Leading the multi-agency MS-13 National Gang Task Force, which coordinates investigations and prosecutions of this extremely violent gang, including with law enforcement officials in Central America, its birthplace overseas;
- Taking part in the Department of Justice’s National Gang Targeting Enforcement and Coordination Center, or GangTECC, a task force that looks for ways to make the most impact through multi-jurisdictional investigations involving federal law enforcement; and
- Putting boots on the ground, so speak—hundreds of highly trained special agents nationwide who work to dismantle gangs from the top down through more than 200 multi-agency Safe Streets Task Forces, including about 150 that specifically target gangs.
Of course, we need your help. Please report crimes and potential criminal activity to us. Please be alert to common gang warning signs in your children and in your neighborhoods. And please get involved and stay involved in anti-gang activities and proactive outreach initiatives in your community.