The FBI has released its 2011 National Gang Threat Assessment, and two California counties are in the top 3 for counties with the largest gang populations. Based on numbers from the FBI, Los Angeles County has the most gang members out of any other county in the nation and San Bernardino County comes in third. Here are population numbers of gangs for the top 3 counties:
1. Los Angeles, Calif: 68,208
2. Cook, Ill.: 60,125
3. San Bernardino County, Calif: 40,588
The Daily Bulletin points out that “The High Desert has been one of the biggest draws for gang members over the last decade due to the abundance of affordable housing.” Authorities also believe upgrades to the 210 Freeway have facilitated a flow of gang members between Los Angeles and San Bernardino Counties. San Bernardino County Supervisor Neil Derry has commented that the region’s growing gang presence is a very serious challenge for the local government due to the resources the problem requires during tough economic times.
As of April, there were 1.4 million active gang members and they fall under more than 33,000 gangs. Below are some highlights from the FBI’s latest report:
- There has been a 40 percent increase from an estimated 1 million gang members in 2009
- Gang members are responsible for an average of 48 percent of violent crime in most jurisdictions and much higher in others. Some jurisdictions in Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, and Texas report that gangs are responsible for at least 90 percent of crime.
- In 2010, law enforcement agencies in 51 major US cities reported moderate to significant levels of gang-related drug activity. NDIC survey data indicates that 69 percent of US law enforcement agencies report gang involvement in drug distribution.
- Gang members from the Midwest are migrating to southern states to expand their drug trafficking operations.
- Local neighborhood-based gangs and drug crews continue to pose the most significant criminal threat in most communities.
You can read the full report here.