There are a lot of on-line resources when it comes to gangs. Whether they be prevention, intervention, suppression, or created by the gang members themselves. I thought I would share one of the more comprehensive resources I have found on the world wide web.
Title Into The Abyss, it was created by Dr. Michael Carlie from Missouri State University and chronicles and shares some of the research and information found in his book of the same title. In his own words " Into the Abyss is the result of what has become an eight year journey into the world of street gangs. The journey, which began with a sabbatical from my university in August of 1998, has now spanned eight years and has included field research in twenty-one cities in the United States and five cities in three other countries (see the list)." What's more he continually updates the website (last update January 28, 2008) so the information is fresh and applicable to what's happening today. As mentioned the site is based on his book, and both include information from hundreds of hours of interviews with law enforcement, community residents, organizations, and gang members as well as literature studies and a compilation of research.
I first discovered the site, when I came on board as the Fresno County Gang Task Force Coordinator in September 2007, and no matter how many times I would search it, I would always find something new, but more importantly I find something useful. One of the difficulties in addressing gangs, is that everyone (including me) wants action and results to happen now - we see crime and violence in the media almost daily, so there seems to be a sense of urgency to respond. The idea of taking a step back to create a plan of action first, while recommended by every curriculum, researcher, and pilot project that has come before us, is not that appealing. To appease the natural instinct to act now, Into The Abyss does provide a great section on "Solutions" - actions steps to look at taking now. Although I really encourage you to visit and navigate the site yourself - I am including links to the solutions areas as a quick reference. Keep in mind that these solutions assume that the entire community has acknowledged that gangs exist and affect the entire community, and there is an understanding that gangs are the symptom to underlying problems with risk and protective factors.
Personal and Family Solutions
Part 1: What the Individual Citizen Could Do
Part 2: What Families Could Do
Part 3: What Reformed Gang Members Could Do
Neighborhood or Community Solutions
Part 1: What Neighborhood Residents Could Do
Part 2: Building Coalitions: The Need for Coordination and Cooperation
Part 3: The Community Forum (Possible Forum Topics)
Part 4: Creating a Community Task Force on Gangs
Part 5: The Community-Based Youth Agency
Part 6: The Adopt an Agency Program
Increasing Our Effectiveness
Into The Abyss has over 2,400 external links - so I will be visiting the site and pointing out helpful resources as we move through this journey of addressing gangs in Fresno County together. So if you don't have hours and hours to weed through the multitude of information, I'll help do some of that for you.