|dc.description.abstract||Over the past two decades, gang-related violence and control has plagued the Northern Triangle: the Central American (NTCA) countries of El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala. This gang-related behavior has propelled the countries to exhibit some of the highest homicide rates per capita globally, contributing to state fragility and mass emigration – most notably to the United States and Mexico. Mitigating such gang influence can be taxonomized into two areas: anti-gang activities focusing on recruitment prevention efforts, and counter-gang operations centered around disrupting, dismantling, or denying gang activities via law enforcement efforts. Scholars and subject-matter experts on gang influence both overwhelmingly agree and exhort that reducing gang membership remains a key factor in lessening a gang’s impact in a given area, as well as potentially yielding a more effective outcome than solely relying on the disruption provided by counter-gang operations.
In view of this consensus, the scope of this study focuses specifically on gang-prevention efforts in the economic, community outreach, and law enforcement sectors over the past two decades, while concurrently examining US-involved programs and their impact from a qualitative perspective. Most prior academic work on the topic consists of an overarching view of the totality of the programs. As such, this study either increases, updates, or combines the research conducted by the US government, academic community, field researchers, as well as the author’s original research conducted in either the NTCA or with officials inside the respective countries. As a result, this study confirms and furthers reasoning for the existing consensus, and moreover, coalesces the wide-ranging research existing in academia, US diplomatic efforts, and Guatemalan government efforts, as well as delving into program specifics.||