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14.4.2021 : 6:39 : +0200

Recent Publications


Gangs are armed groups that are involved primarily in criminal behaviour and tend to operate in urban environments. Gang activities are often directed at economic pursuits, gang (and sometimes community) security, and providing a familial network for members. While gangs control less than two per cent of the world’s small arms, they often find access to military-style automatic firearms and other sophisticated types of weaponry. Gangs are key protagonists in non-conflict-related armed violence, which claims an estimated two-thirds of global violent deaths.

The Small Arms Survey documents the origins, motivations, structures, membership, and small arms holdings of gangs around the world. Field research in Latin America and the Caribbean has made it possible to increase knowledge on the causes and costs of gang violence, as well as the sometimes controversial relationships that develop between gangs and state security forces. The Survey also contributes to a better understanding of the key questions related to gangs, such as the phenomenon of prison gangs, the role of women and girls within gangs, and the effectiveness of interventions aiming to reduce gang violence.


Small Arms Survey Publications

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Other Publications

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