Street gangs are organized groups often involved in drugs, weapons trafficking, and violence. Such street gangs at school can be very disruptive to the school environment because their presence may incite fear among students and increase the level of school violence (Laub and Lauritsen 1998). In the School Crime Supplement to the National Crime Victimization Survey, students ages 12-18 were asked if street gangs were present at their school during the previous 6 months.
In 2003, 21 percent of students reported that there were gangs at their schools (table 9.1). Of all the students surveyed, students in urban schools were the most likely to report the presence of street gangs at their school (31 percent), followed by suburban students and rural students, who were the least likely to do so (18 and 12 percent, respectively). Between 2001 and 2003, no difference was detected in the percentage of students who reported the presence of street gangs, regardless of school location.
Hispanic and Black students were more likely than White students to report the existence of street gangs in their schools in 2003 (37 and 29 percent, respectively, vs. 14 percent; figure 9.1 and table 9.1). This pattern also held among students in urban schools and suburban schools. For rural students, although it appears that Black students (22 percent) were more likely than White and Hispanic students (11 and 13 percent, respectively) to report the existence of street gangs, the difference was not statistically significant.
Students in public schools were more likely to report the presence of street gangs than students in private schools regardless of the school’s location (figure 9.2 and table 9.1). In 2003, 23 percent of students in public schools reported that there were street gangs in their schools, compared with 4 percent of students in private schools. Among public school students, students in urban schools were the most likely to report the presence of street gangs at their school, followed by suburban students and rural students (34, 20, and 13 percent, respectively). For private school students, no significant difference was detected according to urbanicity.
|View Table 9.1|