A Cross-National Comparison of Gangs in the United States and Trinidad and Tobago

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Reports and Publications
July 2011
Charles M. Katz, Edward R. Maguire, David Choate

This study compares the scope and nature of the gang problem in two communities: one in the United States and one in Trinidad and Tobago, a small-island developing state in the eastern Caribbean that has experienced a serious outbreak of violence over the past decade. Data drawn from surveys of adult arrestees reveal that among respondents, 3.2% of those in the U.S. sample and 5.1% of those in the Trinidad sample reported being a member of a gang. While there were a number of similarities between the two samples, significant differences were found between gang members in both countries. Most notably, gang members in Trinidad reported substantially more violence than gang members in the United States.