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Impact of Gang Migration: Effective Responses by Law Enforcement Agencies in the United States, 1992 (ICPSR 2570) RSS

Principal Investigator(s):

Summary:

This study was the first attempt to investigate gang migration systematically and on a national level. The primary objectives of the study were (1) to identify the scope of gang migration nationally, (2) to describe the nature of gang migration, (3) to assess the impact of gang migration on destination cities, and (4) to describe the current law enforcement responses to the migration of gangs and identify those that appeared to be most effective for various types of migration. Two phases of data collection were used. The major objective of the initial phase was to identify cities that had experienced gang migration (Part 1). This was accomplished by distributing a brief mail questionnaire in 1992 to law enforcement agencies in cities identified as potential gang or gang migration sites. The second major phase of data collection involved in-depth telephone interviews with law enforcement officers in cities that had experienced gang migration in order to develop descriptions of the nature of migration and police responses to it (Part 2). For Part 1, information was collected on the year migration started, number of migrants in the past year, factors that deter gang migration, number of gang members, names of gangs, ethnic distribution of gang members and their drug market involvement, number of gang homicides, number of 1991 gang "drive-bys", and if gangs or narcotics were specified in the respondent's assignment. For Part 2, information was collected on the demographics of gang members, the ethnic percentage of drug gang members and their involvement in distributing specific drugs, and the influence of gang migrants on local gang and crime situations in terms of types and methods of crime, drug distribution activities, technology/equipment used, and targets of crime. Information on patterns of gang migration, including motivations to migrate, drug gang migration, and volume of migration, was also collected. Local responses to gang migration covered information sources, department policies relative to migration, gang specialization in department, approaches taken by the department, and information exchanges and coordination among local, state, and federal agencies.

Access Notes

  • These data are freely available.

Dataset(s)

DS0:  Study-Level Files
Documentation:
DS1:  Migration Survey Data - Download All Files (2.1 MB)
DS2:  Phone Interview Data - Download All Files (1.9 MB)

Study Description

Citation

Maxson, Cheryl L. IMPACT OF GANG MIGRATION: EFFECTIVE RESPONSES BY LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES IN THE UNITED STATES, 1992. ICPSR version. Los Angeles, CA: University of Southern California [producer], 1995. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 1999. http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR02570.v1

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Funding

This study was funded by:

  • United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice (91-IJ-CX-K004)

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:   cities, drive-by shootings, drug traffic, gang members, gang migration, gang violence, gangs, police response

Geographic Coverage:   United States

Time Period:  

  • 1992

Date of Collection:  

  • 1992--1993

Unit of Observation:   Agencies.

Universe:   Law enforcement agencies nationwide.

Data Types:   survey data

Data Collection Notes:

A user guide, codebook, and data collection instruments are provided as a Portable Document Format (PDF) file. The PDF file format was developed by Adobe Systems Incorporated and can be accessed using PDF reader software, such as the Adobe Acrobat Reader. Information on how to obtain a copy of the Acrobat Reader is provided through the ICPSR Website on the Internet.

Methodology

Study Purpose:   While gang migration had been mentioned with increasing frequency in state legislative task force investigations, conferences, and law enforcement accounts at the local, state, and federal levels, the evidence cited rarely reflected a systematic assessment of the prevalence, nature, and consequences of gang migration. It became critical to determine how the migration of gang members from traditional urban centers affected the emergence of street gangs in mid-sized and smaller cities throughout the nation. A migratory population of gang members may require different prevention and intervention strategies than an indigenous population of gang members. Different collaborative efforts among law enforcement agencies may be necessary. Finally, if various motivations for migration are observed in different settings, different responses by law enforcement agencies may be appropriate. This study was the first attempt to investigate gang migration systematically and on a national level. The primary objectives were (1) to identify the scope of gang migration nationally, (2) to describe the nature of gang migration, (3) to assess the impact of migration on destination cities, and (4) to describe the current law enforcement responses to the migration of gangs and identify those that appeared to be most effective for various types of migration.

Study Design:   To investigate gang migration systematically and on a national level, two phases of data collection were used. The major objective of the initial phase was to identify cities that had experienced gang migration (Part 1). This was accomplished by distributing a brief mail questionnaire in 1992 to law enforcement agencies in cities identified as potential gang or gang migration sites. The researchers obtained membership lists of gang investigator associations and solicited candidate municipalities from law enforcement contacts across the country. The primary agency responsible for policing each city was identified from the 1991 National Directory of Law Enforcement Administrators. If the municipality contracted police services to an agency other than the local police department, this agency was contacted by telephone to identify the appropriate respondent. Telephone follow-up procedures were instituted for cities that had not responded to the survey one month subsequent to the second mailing. Once the cities that experienced gang migration were identified, the second major phase of the data collection was to conduct in-depth telephone interviews with law enforcement officers in those cities in order to develop descriptions of the nature of migration and police responses to it. The interviews were conducted anywhere from six months to one year following completion of the migration survey.

Sample:   Part 1: All 190 United States cities with a population over 100,000 were included in the survey, as well as a convenience sample of smaller cities and towns known to have experienced gang migration or to have local gangs. The primary agency in each city was selected using the 1991 National Directory of Law Enforcement Administrators. Part 2: Random sample of cities that cited at least ten gang migrants in the Part 1 mail survey.

Data Source:

mail-back questionnaires and telephone interviews

Description of Variables:   For Part 1, information was collected on the year migration started, number of migrants in the past year, factors that deter gang migration, number of gang members, names of gangs, ethnic distribution of gang members and their drug market involvement, number of gang homicides, number of 1991 gang "drive-bys", and if gangs or narcotics were specified in the respondent's assignment. For Part 2, information was collected on demographics of gang members, the ethnic percentage of drug gang members and their involvement in distributing specific drugs, and the influence of gang migrants on local gang and crime situations in terms of types and methods of crime, drug distribution activities, technology/equipment used, and targets of crime. Information on patterns of gang migration, including motivations to migrate, drug gang migration, and volume of migration, was also collected. Local responses to gang migration covered information sources, department policies relative to migration, gang specialization in department, approaches taken by the department, and information exchanges and coordination among local, state, and federal agencies.

Response Rates:   For Part 1, over 90 percent. For Part 2, unknown.

Presence of Common Scales:   Several Likert-type scales were used.

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:

  • Standardized missing values.
  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.

Version(s)

Original ICPSR Release:  

Version History:

  • 2006-03-30 File CB2570.ALL.PDF was removed from any previous datasets and flagged as a study-level file, so that it will accompany all downloads.
  • 2005-11-04 On 2005-03-14 new files were added to one or more datasets. These files included additional setup files as well as one or more of the following: SAS program, SAS transport, SPSS portable, and Stata system files. The metadata record was revised 2005-11-04 to reflect these additions.

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