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Abstract

There were over 1.4 million active gang members in the United States as of 2011—an increase of forty percent in gang membership from 2009. It is estimated that “[g]angs are responsible for an average of 48 percent of violent crime in most jurisdictions and up to 90 percent in several others.” Many of the more than 33,000 gangs are increasing in sophistication and organization. Additionally, these “[g]angs are increasingly engaging in nontraditional gang-related crime, such as alien smuggling, human trafficking, and prostitution.”

The rise in gang membership and gang violence “has overwhelmed conventional law enforcement techniques.” State legislatures, city attorneys, and law enforcement officers have been forced to search for new and innovative techniques that may prove to be more effective. Enjoining a gang (or its members) as a public nuisance is one such innovation that is increasing in use.

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