Skip to Highlights

GAO discussed selected aspects of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department (LASD) Gang Reporting, Evaluation, and Tracking (GREAT) system and the types of information it includes. GAO noted that: (1) about one-third of the estimated 300,000 to 350,000 street-gang members in the United States are tracked in the GREAT database, and over 150 law enforcement agencies nationwide have access to GREAT through their computer systems; (2) as of June 1992, GREAT included information on 1,494 street gangs, of which 942 were active in Los Angeles County; (3) the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) have proposed joint development of a national gang information network that would link state and local gang databases through a federally operated clearinghouse network; (4) most GREAT controls and safeguards appear generally adequate, but BATF and FBI may want to consider certain issues in determining the design and scope of a national network, such as the adequacy of the audit trail for identifying off-line users, the need for independent audits of the system, and the need for documenting the criteria used to create gang records; and (5) although most of the GREAT records reviewed had no indication of what criteria had been used to establish gang membership, the new system software requires entering the criteria to create a record.

Full Report