West Trenton, N.J. - The New Jersey State Police today released the 2010 Street Gang Survey, the fourth such survey during the last nine years. Street gang investigators from around the state were queried to provide a broad spectrum of knowledge which goes well beyond census data for street gangs. It sheds light on the influence gangs have on the community around them, looks at questions of size, organization, patterns of criminality, and examines indicators of gang cohesion.
“I am proud of our talented analysts and Street Gang Unit members that have honed this intelligence product to a razor’s edge. This survey probes the collective law enforcement knowledge to cut to the core of what gangs mean to us all; what threats they pose and how their behavior is trending,” said Colonel Rick Fuentes, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “Its contents are requisite information for any police agency forming anti-gang strategy, but accessible enough for any citizen concerned about the phenomenon of street gangs,” he added.
According to the latest findings, gangs do not appear to have spread significantly throughout the state, maintaining a presence in roughly the same number of municipalities as they did in the 2007 survey. The 2010 survey revealed that gangs were present in both urban and suburban municipalities, were relatively small and that few gangs engaged in the dramatic and violent crime which frequently brings them to the attention of the public.
“Raising awareness with the release of this survey will benefit law enforcement and the public,” said Attorney General Paula Dow. “While each community may have a different set of concerns, we all have a vital interest in addressing the problem of street gangs. Their negative influence transcends crimes by spreading fear and intimidation. That’s why gangs will remain the focus of concerted law enforcement efforts and preventative initiatives for the foreseeable future,” she said.
A creative partnership with academia will make this survey more user-friendly for the average citizen. With assistance from various computer science departments, we developed ways to make this wealth of information searchable through a number of student-designed websites. Most of these projects continue to move toward completion. The University of Maryland has finished creating a website hosting 2010 data under www.NJGangSurvey.com. This site offers searches by gang name and crime type. Other projects will feature town specific searches. We are excited by this partnership and the new dimensions it will add to the product.
Major Matt Wilson, Commanding Officer of the Intelligence Section, lauded the depth of this survey’s findings. “Analysts Dean Baratta and Peter Lynch, and a host of others, evolved this survey into a tremendously important intelligence tool for a variety of users,” he said.
The 2010 Street Gang Survey is now available as an Adobe PDF document on the New Jersey State Police website at www.njsp.org. It’s also available on the website of the Office of the Attorney General at www.nj.gov/oag.
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