Presents data from the first nationwide study of specialized police units dedicated solely to addressing gang activity. The report details the operations of gang units, including intelligence gathering approaches, investigational tactics, gang suppression techniques, law enforcement agency support work, and gang prevention activities. Other topics include the characteristics of gang unit officers, officer training and gang unit selection requirements, intelligence sharing, and gang unit collaboration with other criminal justice agencies. The report also provides information on the types of gangs and gang activities handled by gang units, and the characteristics of jurisdictions served by gang units.
- In 2007, 365 of the nation's large (100 or more sworn officers) police departments and sheriffs' offices had specialized gang units, employing a median of 5 officers per unit and more than 4,300 full-time equivalent sworn officers nationwide.
- Most gang units focused more on developing specialized knowledge about area gangs, gang members, and gang activities than on suppression and support functions. Over 60% of gang units spent the greatest percentage of time either gathering gang intelligence (33% of units) or investigating gang activities (32%) in 2007.
- Nearly all (98%) specialized gang units shared criminal intelligence information with neighboring law enforcement agencies.