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:
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.