ABSTRACT

Considering the growing body of literature discussing these associations, it comes as no surprise that the United States Department of Justice (USDOJ) has devoted tens of millions of dollars to combat gang activity in jurisdictions across the country (Larence 2009). The USDOJ has endorsed a targeted public health approach to dealing with the consequences of gang membership, which focuses primarily on identifying those most at risk for gang membership and directing gang prevention services toward these individuals. Freng and Esbensen (2007) found support for Vigil's (2002) suppositions across Hispanic, black, and white youth using data from the cross-sectional sample from the national evaluation of the Gang Resistance Education and Training (GREAT) program. The cross-sectional and longitudinal evaluations of the first national evaluation of the GREAT program are not the same and thus direct comparisons between the work of Freng and Esbensen (2007) and the current analysis should be interpreted with caution.