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Professor discusses gang prevention at White House

September 02, 2009

Scott Decker, director of ASU's School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, recently spoke to national leaders during a White House conference on gang violence prevention and crime control.

Decker discussed the elements necessary for understanding and responding to gangs. He is a widely acknowledged national expert on gangs, gang crime and law enforcement responses to gang crime.

"This conference brought together leaders from around the country involved in attempts to respond to gangs," Decker says. "It is clear that the White House and U.S. Justice Department have made a balanced approach to gangs a high priority." 

Those attending included U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder; Gil Kerlikowske, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy; Justice Department officials; directors of several prominent gang prevention programs; and police chiefs and mayors, including Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon. 

Decker spoke about the need for balancing three elements of gang response: suppression (arrest and prosecution), intervention (diversion, counseling youth who have a high risk of joining gangs) and prevention (for youth at risk of joining gangs). 

A Fellow in the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, Decker has a distinguished record of contributions to the field of criminal justice and criminology for the past 30 years. His books include "Life in The Gang: Family, Friends and Violence" and "Strategies to Address Gang Crime." 

The School of Criminology and Criminal Justice is in the College of Public Programs, located at the ASU Downtown Phoenix campus. For information about the school, visit