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Comprehensive Gang Prevention, Intervention, and Suppression Model



The Comprehensive Gang Prevention, Intervention, and Suppression Model (referred to herein as the Comprehensive Gang Model) is based on a nationwide assessment of youth gang problems and programs, funded by the federal Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP). Conducted in the late 1980s, this study identified the main strategies that are commonly used and viewed favorably in community responses to gang problems. These strategies have been further developed and interrelated in the OJJDP Comprehensive Gang Model. Brief descriptions of the five strategies follow.

Community Mobilization: Involvement of local citizens—including former gang youth, community groups, and agencies—and the coordination of programs and staff functions within and across agencies.

Opportunities Provision: The development of a variety of specific education, training, and employment programs targeting gang-involved youth.

Social Intervention: Involving youth-serving agencies, schools, grassroots groups, faith-based organizations, law enforcement, and other juvenile/criminal justice organizations in “reaching out” to gang-involved youth and their families and linking them with the conventional world and needed services.

Suppression: Formal and informal social control procedures, including close supervision and monitoring of gang-involved youth by agencies of the juvenile/criminal justice system and also by community-based agencies, schools, and grassroots groups.

Organizational Change and Development: Development and implementation of policies and procedures that result in the most effective use of available and potential resources, within and across agencies, to better address the gang problem.

  • The Comprehensive Gang Prevention, Intervention, and Suppression Model has demonstrated effectiveness in multiple cities.
  • Researchers looked at six cities in the initial evaluation of the model; they compared youth and neighborhoods that received Comprehensive Gang Model programming with matched comparison groups of youth and neighborhoods that did not receive the programming. They found that the program was implemented with high fidelity in three of six sites (Chicago, IL, Riverside, CA, and Mesa, AZ). In these three sites, there were statistically significant reductions in gang violence, and in two of these sites, there were statistically significant reductions in drug-related offenses when compared with the control groups of youth and neighborhoods.
  • In a later evaluation of an adaption of the Comprehensive Gang Model in Los Angeles, CA the Gang Reduction Program, researchers concluded the program was effectively implemented to combat “traditional,” multigenerational, urban territorial gangs, and that the strongest concentrations of violent crime, or “hot spots,” diminished with statistical significance following CGM implementation.

In sum, the Comprehensive Gang Model has demonstrated evidence of its effectiveness in reducing gang violence when implemented with good program fidelity. Although the research to date has been primarily on the intervention and suppression components, the Comprehensive Gang Model holds promise for integrating prevention activities with intervention programs and suppression strategies.

Risk Factors


Antisocial/delinquent beliefs

Conduct disorders (authority conflict/rebellious/stubborn/disruptive/antisocial)

Early and persistent noncompliant behavior

Early dating/sexual activity/fatherhood

Early onset of aggression/violence

Exposure to firearm violence

Few social ties (involved in social activities, popularity)

Gang involvement in adolescence

General delinquency involvement

High alcohol/drug use


Illegal gun ownership/carrying

Lack of guilt and empathy

Life stressors

Low intelligence quotient

Low perceived likelihood of being caught

Makes excuses for delinquent behavior (neutralization)

Medical/physical condition

Mental health problems

Physical violence/aggression

Poor refusal skills

Victim of child maltreatment

Victimization and exposure to violence

Violence at age 13

Violent victimization


Abusive parents

Antisocial parents

Broken home/changes in caretaker

Delinquent siblings

Family history of problem behavior/criminal involvement

Family poverty/low family socioeconomic status

Family violence (child maltreatment, partner violence, conflict)

Having a teenage mother

High parental stress/maternal depression

Lack of orderly and structured activities within the family

Low parental attachment to child/adolescent

Low parental education

Parent proviolent attitudes

Parental use of physical punishment/harsh and/or erratic discipline practices

Poor parental supervision (control, monitoring, and child management)

Poor parent-child relations or communication

Sibling antisocial behavior

Unhappy parents



Frequent school transitions

Frequent truancy/absences/suspensions; expelled from school; dropping out of school

Identified as learning disabled

Low academic aspirations

Low achievement in school

Low math achievement test scores (males)

Low parent college expectations for child

Low school attachment/bonding/motivation/commitment to school

Old for grade/repeated a grade

Poor school attitude/performance; academic failure

Poor student-teacher relations

Poorly defined rules and expectations for appropriate conduct

Poorly organized and functioning schools/inadequate school climate/negative labeling by teachers

Student failure in the first grade

Unsafe schools


Availability and use of drugs in the neighborhood

Availability of firearms

Community disorganization

Economic deprivation/poverty/residence in a disadvantaged neighborhood

Exposure to violence and racial prejudice

Feeling unsafe in the neighborhood

High-crime neighborhood

Low neighborhood attachment

Neighborhood antisocial environment

Neighborhood physical disorder

Neighborhood youth in trouble


Association with antisocial/aggressive/delinquent peers; high peer delinquency

Association with gang-involved peers/relatives

Gang membership

Peer alcohol/drug use

Peer rejection


National Gang Center: Effective Program Structure

OJJDP Model Programs Guide: Promising Program

Crime Solutions: Promising Program


National Gang Center
Institute for Intergovernmental Research
Post Office Box 12729
Tallahassee, FL 32317-2729
Phone: (850) 385-0600
Fax: (850) 386-5356
E-mail: [email protected]
Web site: https://www.nationalgangcenter.gov/


Best Practices to Address Community Gang Problems. (2008). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. http://www.ojjdp.gov/publications/PubAbstract.asp?pubi=253257.

Cahill, M., & Hayeslip, D. (2010). Findings from the Evaluation of OJJDP's Gang Reduction Program. Juvenile Justice Bulletin. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

Spergel, I. A. (1995). The Youth Gang Problem: A Community Approach. Oxford University Press: New York.

Spergel, I. A. (2007). Reducing Youth Gang Violence: The Little Village Gang Project in Chicago. Lanham, MD: AltaMira Press. Appendix A, p. 51.

Spergel, I. A.; Wa, K. M.; and Sosa, R. V. (2006). “The Comprehensive, Community-Wide, Gang Program Model: Success and Failure.” In J. F. Short and L. A. Hughes (eds.), Studying Youth Gangs. Lanham, MD: AltaMira Press, pp. 203–224.

Hayeslip, D., and Cahill, M. (2009). Community Collaboratives Addressing Youth Gangs: Final Evaluation Findings From the Gang Reduction Program. Washington, DC: Urban Institute.

Wyrick, P. (2006). “Gang Prevention: How to Make the ’Front End’ of Your Anti-Gang Effort Work.” United States Attorneys’ Bulletin, 54(3):52–60.

Date Created: April 7, 2021