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1 Dennise Orlando-Morningstar, Street Gangs 1 (1997)

handle is hein.congcourts/spenbusg0001 and id is 1 raw text is: here are certainly hun-
dreds, very probably
thousands, of street
gangs in the United States. In
1994, the Justice Department
estimated that the United
States had close to 1,500 gangs
with a total of more than
120,000 members. A 1992 sur-
vey of the 79 largest metropoli-
tan police departments, con-
ducted by G. David Curry for
the National Institute of Jus-
tice, estimated that there were
over 4,800 street gangs with al-
most 250,000 members. More
recently, the Office of Juvenile
Justice and Delinquency Pre-
vention's National Youth Gang
Center estimated that the
United States has nearly 23,500
street gangs with 665,000 mem-
bers.
Nor, studies show, is gang
activity confined to large cit-
ies. Gang expert Malcolm W.
Klein estimates that 1,100 U.S.
cities have street gangs. The
National Drug Intelligence
Center reports that two of the
largest national street gangs are
active in 115 cities-nearly
half of which have populations
under 100,000.
Membership in a gang is not
by itself proof of criminal activ-
ity. Many experts and law en-
forcement officials report, how-
ever, that street gang members
as a whole have higher rates of

criminal offending than non-
gang youth. Gang membership
also appears to be linked to
criminal activity in adulthood.
One study found that a large
portion of dangerous juvenile
offenders who were gang mem-
bers became even more serious
adult offenders. A California
study found that convicted

gang members typically contin-
ued their lives of crime after
being released from detention.
Worse, law enforcement
agencies report that the num-
ber of felonies-assaults, batter-
ies, robberies, burglaries, grand
thefts, auto thefts, murders, and
weapons violations-commit-
ted by street gang members is
on the rise. As James C. Howell
states in a report prepared for
the Office of Juvenile Justice
and Delinquency Prevention,
the gang problem is increasing
from the standpoint of more
violent offenses, more injuries,
and use of more lethal weap-
ons.

Law enforcement officials
expect this trend to continue.
Implications for the
Federal Judiciary
The juvenile justice system is
generally considered inade-
quate for dealing with hard-
core street gang members who
are minors. Statejuvenile codes

were not designed for the seri-
ous violence that characterizes
street gang crimes. Gang stat-
utes, on the other hand, gener-
ally do not cover juveniles. In
addition, many state and local
prosecutors have expressed frus-
tration at the lack of detention
facilities forjuveniles and at the
corresponding frequency with
which juveniles receive proba-
tion for felony convictions.
Street gangs are aware of the
significant differences between
the juvenile and adult justice
systems and often usejuveniles
to commit crimes.
To address these and related
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