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National Youth Gang Survey Analysis: Gang Units


Gang Units

Respondents provided information regarding the operation of a gang unit in their agencies. “Gang unit” is defined in the survey as “a specialized unit with at least two officers primarily assigned to handle matters related to youth gangs.”

  • Approximately four in ten law enforcement agencies with a gang problem operated a gang unit in 2006, including 54 percent of larger cities.
  • With the exception of smaller cities, the percentage of agencies operating a gang unit increased yearly and was highest in 2006.
  • In 2006, 31 percent of law enforcement agencies with a gang problem that did not operate a gang unit reported that one or more officers were assigned to handle gang problems exclusively.


a vertical bar chart displaying data for gang unit percentages between 2003 and 2011

Note: *A value for rural counties for 2011 is not presented because insufficient data was reported.

Gang Unit
  2003 2004 2006 2011
Larger Cities 51.4% 51.2% 53.9% 54.2%
Suburban Counties 24.4% 27.0% 32.5% 34.8%
Smaller Cities 14.0% 17.8% 13.5% 16.7%
Rural Counties 2.4% 6.9% 8.5% **insufficient data reported**

Analysis for this section pertains only to law enforcement agencies reporting gang problems. Please see the Prevalence of Gang Problems section.

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Suggested citation: National Gang Center. National Youth Gang Survey Analysis. Retrieved [date] from https://nationalgangcenter.ojp.gov/survey-analysis.