Youth gangs were active in 2002 in more than 2,300 cities with a population of 2,500 or more and in more than 550 jurisdictions served by county law enforcement agencies, says a new Justice Department report. The numbers suggest that the number of places experiencing gang problems may be stabilizing, says the study. The report estimates 21,500 gangs with 731,500 members active around the nation, down about 14 percent in six years. About half the homicides in Chicago and Los Angeles were said to be gang-related.
Forty-two percent of respondents indicated their gang problem was “getting worse” in 2002 compared with 2001; 16 percent indicated it was “getting better.” In the 2001 survey, these statistics were 27 percent and 20 percent respectively.