The Problem of Street Gangs: An Exploration of Public Policy Based on the Example of Los Angeles

Street gangs are routinely involved in considerable criminal activity and have presented a long-standing and multi-faceted challenge to the public sector agencies in metropolitan areas across the United States. In fact, the dangerous problem of gangs has further spread to also affect smaller communities and suburban neighborhoods, both domestically and internationally. The City of Los Angeles has a very large number of gangs and gang members within its boundaries and has made numerous efforts to curtail street gangs and their criminal activity through a combination of gang prevention, intervention and suppression efforts. The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) is the City's primary public agency tasked with gang reduction. The LAPD is not only responsible for policing communities with a gang presence but is also very much involved in gang prevention and intervention efforts, either on its own or in collaboration with other stakeholders of the public or non-profit sectors. This research will explore LAPD gang reduction work with a particular focus on its diverse gang intervention efforts and their effectiveness.