Prevent Gang Membership

Prevent Gang Membership book

The consequences of gangs — and their burden on law enforcement and public health systems in our communities — are significant. Law enforcement intervention and suppression efforts alone are not sufficient to solve the youth gang problem in the United States.

Preventing young people from joining gangs in the first place is crucial to realizing a significant and lasting reduction in youth gang activity.

Changing the Course of Young People’s Future

Changing Course explores the important relationship between public safety and public health in preventing kids from joining gangs. Community leaders and practitioners are invited to engage in a new way of thinking about this relationship and to put into practice evidence-based principles and practices that can halt the cascading impact of gangs on kids, families, neighborhoods, and society.

The book’s goal is to help community leaders, police officers, teachers, and community services providers better understand what research says about keeping kids out of gangs and to make informed decisions about how to best use limited resources to prevent joining a gang.

It is important to look beyond individual-level risk factors to consider factors within families, schools, and communities that influence joining a gang. Opportunities and principles for prevention are described at each level.

Get the Book and Supporting Materials

Download Changing Course, an executive summary and individual chapters for free from the National Institute of JusticeExternal.

Help Spread the Word.

Download a flyer Cdc-pdf[57 KB, 1 Page, 508] about the book to print and share.


Simon T, Ritter N, Mahendra R, editors. Changing Course: Preventing Gang Membership. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2013.

Page last reviewed: October 30, 2018