Fighting Gangs

October 9, 2015 • Volume 25, Issue 36
Are street gangs becoming more dangerous?
By Christina Hoag


Antonio Brown and Amber Hailey (AP Photo/Christian K. Lee)
Antonio Brown and Amber Hailey mourn the death of their 7-year-old son Amari on July 11, 2015. The boy was celebrating July 4 at his father's home on Chicago's West Side when he was shot by someone targeting Brown, who police say is a ranking member of the Four Corner Hustlers gang. (AP Photo/Christian K. Lee)

After years of decline, homicide and gun violence are surging in U.S. cities, and many law enforcement officials say street gangs are a major reason for the increase. Gang membership has soared in recent years, and crimes committed by gangs have expanded beyond drug dealing and murder to migrant smuggling, sex trafficking and counterfeiting. Gang leaders are using the Internet and social media to communicate, recruit members and threaten rival groups. Meanwhile, gangs are spreading to smaller cities, suburbs and even rural areas. Legal injunctions — restraining orders that bar gang members from congregating publicly — have curbed criminal activity in some localities, but critics say the tactic violates civil liberties, is applied in a racially biased manner and unfairly stigmatizes innocent young people. Countering the gang threat requires a multipronged strategy, many experts say, that combines tough policing with anti-poverty programs that seek to keep youths from falling into the gang lifestyle.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Violence in America
Apr. 29, 2022  Political Violence
Jun. 01, 2018  Gang Violence
Oct. 09, 2015  Fighting Gangs
Feb. 14, 2014  Media Violence
Nov. 15, 2013  Domestic Violence
Feb. 08, 2013  Preventing Hazing
Jan. 06, 2006  Domestic Violence
Oct. 31, 2003  Serial Killers
Sep. 03, 1993  Suburban Violence
Apr. 27, 1979  Violence in the Family
Jun. 05, 1968  Violence in American Life
Crime and Law Enforcement
Juvenile Justice
Organized Crime
Students and Social Life
Violence and the Family