The Department of Justice estimates there may be as many as 175,000 to 200,000 gang members in California. These figures are approximations only since there is no statewide, centralized repository of gang-related information to accurately measure the num ber of gang members in California. However, these figures represent an approximate 230 to 280 percent increase over the past 11 years when former Attorney General George Deukmejian's Youth Gang Task Force estimated 52,400 gang members in the state during 1981. The Youth Gang Task Force figures were based on a series of hearings held throughout the state in 1981.
The current estimates are based on:
The following criminal acts are enumerated in paragraphs (1) to (8):
Both definitions are restrictive. Not all gangs have names, identifying signs, or symbols; and gang members may include associates affiliated with the gang for purposes of criminal activity. Hardcore gang members devote their lives to the gang, but crim inal associates do not. This report takes these elusive circumstances into consideration and includes them--along with Penal Code Section 186.22 (a) and (f)--as gangs and gang members throughout the document.
The gangs, which comprise the majority of the violent gangs in California, include Hispanic gangs; African American gangs, particularly the Crips and Bloods; Asian gangs; and white gangs, especially the Skinheads.
Hispanic gangs comprise the majority of the gang population in California. They are involved in a variety of criminal activities, and their arsenals are expanding to large-caliber. handguns and automatic weapons.
The Crips and Bloods have become the most well-known of California's African American gangs, They are involved in robberies, burglaries, assaults, drive-by shootings, murders, and narcotics trafficking throughout California and the United States.
Asian gangs--especially Vietnamese, Cambodian, and Laotian gangs--are becoming one of the fastest growing gang-related crime problems in this state. Their members terrorize their own community, and most of their home-invasion robberies include threats or bodily harm to the victims. Some of the robberies have resulted in the torture and death of the victims.
White gangs, particularly the Skinheads, are involved in hate crimes. Murders and assaults attributed to Skinheads are on the increase, and most of their crimes are racially motivated. The connections between the Skinheads and other established white-sup remacist groups--like the Ku Klux Klan and the White Aryan Resistance--are increasing.