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Q&A: Afghanistan surpassed Vietnam as our longest war

Demographics of gangs

With all the talk these days about different gangs, I got to wondering just how many national gangs there are. I would also like to know the percentage of these gangs in relation to ethnic background, white, black, Hispanic, etc.

To answer your question, we turned to the National Gang Center (, which collects and interprets data. Sam Brown, research associate, responded:

"Your first inquiry about the number of 'national gangs' would seem to be in line with the common assumption that gangs set up satellite operations in distant cities, something typically referred to as 'gang migration.'

"However, the existence of graffiti associated with a well-known gang in a public park in a rural community, for example, does not necessarily mean that the gang has set up a chapter in the community. Gang names are frequently copied, adopted or passed on. In most instances, there is little, if any, real connection between local groups with the same name as more well-known gangs other than the name itself."

On the ethnic side of your question, Brown says: "Your second inquiry about the ethnic makeup of gangs has an answer that varies based on location, as the demographic composition of gangs is an extension of the social and economic characteristics of the larger community."

Overall, reports from law enforcements agencies indicate that there is a greater percentage of Hispanic and black gang members compared with other races/ethnicities.

The most recent figures provided by law enforcement show 49 percent of all gang members are Hispanic, 35 percent are black, 9 percent are white, and 7 percent belong to another race or ethnic group.

The percentages differ by area. For example, in rural counties the percentage of white gang members jumps to almost 17 percent, while the Hispanic number drops to about 32 percent.

For more information, you can see the report at

There's also this link to frequently asked questions about gangs:

Afghanistan is our longest war

Can you give me the date when the United States went into Afghanistan and the date we went into Iraq?

The United States' war in Afghanistan recently completed its 105th month. That makes it America's longest war, surpassing the Vietnam War, which is considered to have lasted 103 months (August 1964-March 1973), according to USA Today. U.S. forces entered Afghanistan on Oct. 7, 2001, and began military operations against Iraq on March 19, 2003.

Q&A: Afghanistan surpassed Vietnam as our longest war 08/08/10 [Last modified: Friday, August 6, 2010 2:07pm]
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