Gangs in Arizona 2002
High Level Overview/Fact Sheet
Surveys were distributed to 168 criminal justice agencies throughout Arizona in June 2002. Fifteen county sheriffs, 79 municipal law enforcement agencies, 12 federal agencies, 22 probation agencies, 18 tribal prosecutors and 22 tribal police agencies were surveyed. Of the 168 surveys distributed, 148 (88 percent) of the surveys were returned. Fifty-three percent of the criminal justice agencies responding to this year's survey indicated that gangs are either "one of the serious public safety issues they face" or a "medium serious public safety issue" in their jurisdiction. More t h a n half of the participating criminal justice agencies indicated that gang members participate in drug activities, aggravated assault, robb e r y, l a r c e n y t h e f t , b u r g l a r i e s a n d motor vehicle thefts. Gang Member Identification Criteria (GMIC) A statewide standard designed to assist criminal justice agencies objectively identify gang members. In order to be identified as a gang member in Arizona, an individual must meet at least two of the following criteria: (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) Self Proclamation; W i t n e s s Te s t i m o n y o r O f f i c i a l S t a t e m e n t ; Written or Electronic Correspondence; Paraphernalia or Photographs; Ta t t o o s ; Clothing or Colors; and Any Other Indicia of Street Gang Membership.
Our mission is to sustain and enhance the coordination, cohesiveness, productivity and effectiveness of the criminal justice system in Arizona
Perception of Youth Gang Problem Staying the Same Getting Better Getting Worse Unable to Determine National 50 28 22 -Arizona 52 19 28 1
Perception of Youth Gang Problem
In Arizona, 52 percent of Arizona law enforcement agencies indicated that, when compared to 2000, their youth gang problem in 2001 remained about the same, 19 percent reported that the gang problem had improved, 28 percent reported that the gang problem had worsened and one percent of agencies were unable to respond to this question. The percentage of Arizona law enforcement agencies that indicated when compared to 2000, the gang problem in 2001 was "staying t h e s a m e ," o r " g e t t i n g w o r s e " w a s s i m i l a r t o n a t i o n a l findings. In contrast, Arizona was lower than the national percentage of states reporting that the gang p r o b l e m w a s " g e t t i n g b e t t e r."
Prevalence of Youth Gangs
Nationally, 40 percent of law enforcement agencies surveyed by the National Youth Gang Center (NYGC) indiPrevalence of Youth Gangs cated that there were gangs active in the city, town or 56% c o u n t y served by their Arizona National 40% agency. In Arizona, 56 perc e n t of law enforcement agencies indicated they had active youth gangs in their jurisdiction in 2001. This is 16 percent higher than the reported national percentage in 2000 (40 percent).
Arizona Criminal Justice Commission 1110 West Washington, Suite 230 Phoenix, Arizona 85007 Toll Free 877.668.2252 (P) 602.364.1146 (F) 602.364.1175
Review full report at: www.acjc.state.az.us
Gang Member Demographics
Law enforcement agencies were asked to provide information regarding the race and gender of gang members in their area.
H i s p a n i c s represent 12.5 percent of the total n a t i o n a l population and 25.3 percent of Arizona's total population.
N a t i o n a l l y, l a w e n f o r c e m e n t a g e n c i e s r e ported that 47 percent of gang members in In Arizona whites represent 63.8 percent o f the total population and account t h e i r area were Hispanic, whereas f o r 21 percent of the gang members Arizona's law enforcement agencies Gender Demographics reported 62 percent. in the state. Blacks represent 12.1 percent of the national population and account for 31 percent of gang m e m b e r s n a t i o n a l l y.
Arizona National M 89 94
On a national level whites represent 69.1 percent of the total population and account for 13 percent of gang members nationwide.
In Arizona, blacks represent 2 . 9 p e r c e n t o f t h e s t a t e 's p o p u l a t i o n a n d account for 10 percent of the gang members. Population Increase
Since 1991, Arizona's population has been increasing at a rate nearly three times faster than the rest of the nation. This population increase is likely to result in an increase in gangs and gang activity. The problems resulting from the increase in gangs and gangr e l a t e d crime will be further compounded by the absence of the Gang Intelligence Team Enforcement Mission (GITEM) in rural counties. Therefore, it is imperative that criminal justice a g e n c i e s continue to develop and implement strategies that will effectively respond to the increase in gangs and gang-related crime that is likely to occur over the next few years.
I n 2000, law enforcement agencies n a t i o n a l l y reported that 94 percent of the gang members in their area were male, whereas six percent were female. This rate is comparable to results from Arizona agencies, which reported 89 percent of gang members as male and 11 percent as female.
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o f c a p a c i t y. T h e i n c r e a s e s i n both the adult and juvenile corrections population over the past few years represents an additional area in which greater attent i o n and resources must be extended to ensure that Arizona's correctional facilities continue to operate both efficiently and effectively.
who have fled to other count r i e s , attorney safety and obtaining adequate resources as major challenges.
A r i z o n a ' s corrections departments will also be impacted by the population increases. Over the past 10 years, the adult corr e c t i o n s population has increase d 8 1 . 5 p e r c e n t . S i m i l a r l y, t h e juvenile corrections populat i o n has also increased in recent years. In fact, four of the five juvenile correction facilities a r e operating at 87 to 97 percent
Prosecution agencies will face several challenges related to gang prosecution. As the nature and extent of gang prose c u t i o n varies throughout Arizona, the challenges to prosecution a r e a l s o u n i q u e f o r e a c h c o u n t y. The one challenge expressed by most Arizona prosecution agencies was the unwillingness of witnesses to testify in gangrelated cases. Identifying gang membership, lack of evidence, and proving that a crime was committed to further a gang were also mentioned as chall e n g e s to prosecuting gang cases. Although not expressed by all c o u n t i e s , some prosecution agencies identified extraditing defendants
Arizona's geographical location and current criminal trends make it an ideal target for illegal economic profits. Since 1991, Arizona has maintained a high crime ranking and is currently ranked number one in the nation. This is noteworthy because many of the crimes in which Arizona currently ranks within the top ten in the nation are also the same crimes that surveyed law enforcement agencies reported a s high gang member involvement crimes(e.g. motor vehicle theft, burglary and robbery). As a result of Arizona's current crime t r e n d s , and because of the predicted i n c r e a s e in gangs, it is imperative that criminal justice agencies throughout the state continue to receive the resources necessary to effectively respond t o the problem of gangs in Arizona.
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