National Archive of Criminal Justice Data

This dataset is maintained and distributed by the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data (NACJD), the criminal justice archive within ICPSR. NACJD is primarily sponsored by three agencies within the U.S. Department of Justice: the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

Census of Law Enforcement Gang Units, 2007 (ICPSR 29503)

Alternate Title:  CLEGU 2007

Principal Investigator(s):


The 2007 Census of Law Enforcement Gang Units (CLEGU) collected data from all state and local law enforcement agencies with 100 or more sworn officers and at least one officer dedicated solely to addressing gangs and gang activities. Law enforcement agencies are often the first line of response to the gang problems experienced across the country and are a critical component of most anti-gang initiatives. One way for law enforcement agencies to address gang-related problems is to form specialized gang units. The consolidation of an agency's gang enforcement activities and resources into a single unit can allow gang unit officers to develop specific expertise and technical skills related to local gang characteristics and behaviors and gang prevention and suppression. No prior studies have collected data regarding the organization and operations of law enforcement gang units nationwide, the types of gang prevention tactics employed, or the characteristics and training of gang unit officers. This CLEGU collected data on the operations, workload, policies, and procedures of gang units in large state and local law enforcement agencies in order to expand knowledge of gang prevention and enforcement tactics. The CLEGU also collected summary measures of gang activity in the agencies' jurisdictions to allow for comparison across jurisdictions with similar gang problems.

Access Notes

  • These data are freely available.


DS0:  Study-Level Files
DS1:  Numeric Data - Download All Files (2.8 MB)
DS2:  Alphanumeric Data - Download All Files (14.6 MB)

Study Description


United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. Bureau of Justice Statistics. Census of Law Enforcement Gang Units, 2007. ICPSR29503-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2011-03-22.

Persistent URL:

Export Citation:

  • RIS (generic format for RefWorks, EndNote, etc.)
  • EndNote XML (EndNote X4.0.1 or higher)


This study was funded by:

  • United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. Bureau of Justice Statistics

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:   gangs, law enforcement agencies, personnel, police departments, policies and procedures

Smallest Geographic Unit:   city

Geographic Coverage:   United States

Time Period:  

  • 2007

Date of Collection:  

  • 2008

Unit of Observation:   police agencies

Universe:   All state and local law enforcement agencies with 100 or more sworn officers and at least one officer dedicated solely to addressing gangs and gang activities in 2007.

Data Types:   census/enumeration data, survey data


Study Purpose:   The Department of Justice has made gang enforcement and the development of effective gang prevention programs a priority through several administrations. This data collection will be useful for federal, state, and local officials in the development and funding of gang enforcement programs. It will also be of use and interest to law enforcement agencies with already established gang units, those agencies considering the establishment of such units, and to researchers interested in topics ranging from the organization of police agencies to the law enforcement reaction to gang problems.

Study Design:   To establish the universe of gang units to be included in the CLEGU, researchers utilized a BJS list of all agencies with 100 or more sworn officers according to the 2003 Law Enforcement Management and Administrative Statistics (LEMAS) survey. The BJS list was merged with a list of all law enforcement agencies with 100 or more sworn officers purchased from the National Public Safety Information Bureau. After duplicates were removed, the agency list included 1,084 state and local police departments and sheriffs' offices nationwide with 100 or more sworn officers. From September through November 2006, researchers contacted each of the agencies to determine whether the agency had a dedicated street gang unit or at least one officer whose sole responsibility was to coordinate the agency's response to gangs. Following these calls, 551 agencies did not appear to either have a specialized gang unit or gang officer and were considered out of scope for the study. A universe of 533 agencies was initially determined eligible to receive the CLEGU survey form. Eligible agencies received the data collection instrument based on stated preferences for delivery: link to an online data collection tool (320 agencies), facsimile of the questionnaire (197 agencies), and instrument sent via the United States Postal Service (16 agencies). The 533 law enforcement agencies offices with 100 or more sworn officers and at least one officer dedicated solely to addressing gang problems received the CLEGU data collection instrument in March 2008. Ninety-two percent of these agencies (488) responded to the survey.

Mode of Data Collection:   mail questionnaire, web-based survey

Data Source:

self-enumerated questionnaires

Extent of Processing:  ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

  • Created variable labels and/or value labels.
  • Performed recodes and/or calculated derived variables.
  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.


Original ICPSR Release:  

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