Over the past 15 years, the United States has seen a dramatic increase in the number of specialized gang units established by police departments across the country. The majority of these units were established for the purpose of gathering intelligence on gangs, gang members, and gang-related activity. The present study seeks to advance the understanding of the usefulness of gang intelligence systems. In particular, the authors focus on how successful the police are at identifying and documenting youth whom they believe pose a substantial threat to the community. Using data obtained from the Mesa, Arizona, police department's gang unit and the Maricopa County Juvenile Probation Department, the authors found that gang lists may be more helpful to the police than first believed. Policy implications are presented along with recommendations for future research.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Sciences (miscellaneous)