Youth Gangs in America: A Treasure Valley Comparison

Kati-Maria Anderson, Department of Criminal Justice, Boise State University


It has long been documented that youth gang members are disproportionately involved in high levels of serious violent crime in comparison to non-gang delinquents. While gangs have been around since the 1870s, it has only been in recent years that gang-related studies have reemerged. The purpose of this study is to examine why youth join gangs. This research will include Idaho’s definition of a ‘gang’, national statistics regarding youth gangs and compare this data to gang statistics in the Treasure Valley. The results of this research will disclose the risk factors pertaining to youth involvement in gang activities, as well as highlighting the various responses to local gang crimes. Additionally, this research will examine local and national alternative programs aimed at high risk youth.