NC Network for Safe Communities was tasked with creating a survey for distribution at the 2015 North Carolina Gang Investigator’s Conference and Gang Free North Carolina Academy. 394 law enforcement and community resource partners participated in the survey representing nearly every county in NC. Main findings were that:
- All types of gangs are present and active in NC communities, though local neighborhood crews were the most commonly reported. 68% of respondents reported that gang membership in their community has increased over the past two years, while 26% of respondents reported that gang membership has stayed the same.
- When asked about the most violent group in their community, national-level street groups were most often identified, as mentioned by 49% of respondents. Local crews were identified as the most violent group type by 45% of respondents. These local neighborhood groups are prevalent, active, and often violent in communities, meaning they need the same level of LE and resource attention as more organized, hierarchical national-level gangs.’
- Respondents revealed that gangs are present in schools in 74% of communities. Of those communities with a gang presence in schools, 25% reported gangs are present in elementary schools, 78% reported gangs are present in middle/junior high schools, and 80% reported gangs are present in high schools.
- 1.3% of respondents reported an increase in their community in international terrorist groups, 26% have seen an increase in Sovereign groups, and 13% have seen an increase in hate-motivated group activity.
- Gangs are using social media readily. 76% of LE respondents were aware of gangs using social media to communicate with one another. 51% of LE respondents stated that their agency frequently integrates social media for gang investigations. 18% rarely or never do.
- Several barriers to gang member arrest and/or conviction were identified. The most common barrier was lack of victim/witness cooperation due to fear of retaliation, codes about not snitching, and the fact that many witnesess/victims are often involved in criminal activity themselves. Many respondents mentioned overburdened systems as barriers.
- The most common services respondents reported providing to gang-involved individuals were often youth-oriented, including pro-social activities, after-school programs, and positive alternatives. Employment services and vocational training were also commonly mentioned. Unfortunately, 38% of all respondents, regardless of agency type, reported that they rarely feel they have the resources needed to address gang-related issues.
- A PDF of preliminary findings can be accessed here: NCGIA Survey Report Preliminary Findings