Department of Justice Gang Criteria

The Attorney General's Youth Gang Task Force
Maintaining Gang Information Files

The most important factor in developing a youth gang information file is the establishment of and adherence to uniform guidelines and criteria. Normal and legal procedures already established by police agencies for processing police reports and information will be the groundwork of any gang information system.

Gang affiliation may be determined by the following factors:

  1. Subject admits being a member of a gang.
  2. Subject has tattoos, clothing, etc., that are only associated with certain gangs.
  3. Subject has been arrested while participating with a known gang.
  4. Information that places the subject with a gang has been obtained from a reliable informant.
  5. Close association with known gang members has been confirmed.

This information can be obtained from personal knowledge or through information submitted by other officers in field interviews, reports, etc.

The following procedure is similar to youth gang information files already established within the San Diego Police Department, Los Angeles Police Department, and the Los Angeles Sheriff's Office and is shown as an example only. Different agencies may adapt a file system to suit their individual needs and/or established policies.