The Center for Law & Human Behavior






October 26, 2016

 Salvador Gangs title card 01

​The presentation will review the scope and nature of the gang problem in El Salvador and the United States, and assesses their capacity to respond to these problems. This presentation relies on finding produced through three related but separate studies. The first was a U.S. Department of Homeland Security sponsored research project that sought to further understand the organizational structure and sophistication of transnational criminal gangs and their capacity to facilitate mobility and migration through Mexico into the U.S., and further understanding the dynamic social networks of transnational criminal gangs and their capacity to facilitate mobility and migration through Mexico into the U.S.  The second and third were funded through USAID sponsored projects that sought to examine the risk and protective factors associated with gang joining and violence among Salvadorian school youth and the effectiveness of the Salvadorian gang truce. The policy and practice implications of the findings will be discussed. 


Dr. Charles M. Katz. - Arizona State University 


​​Charles Katz is the Watts Family Director of the Center for Violence Prevention and Community Safety and is a Professor in School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Arizona State University. Much of his work focuses on police transformation and strategic responses to crime.  From 2004 to 2010 he worked under contract with the Ministry of National Security of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago to develop a comprehensive strategic plan to reform the Trinidad and Tobago Police Services, including the creation of an in-service training program for police leaders, creation and training of a police gang unit, homicide unit, and crime analysis unit.  During this time, he completed a project for the US DHS examining the connection between MS13 in El Salvador and the United States.  He also completed a project funded by the United Nations Development (UNDP) program to assess citizen insecurity throughout the Caribbean.  He recently completed working on several USAID funded projects.  One was with the Eastern Caribbean’s Regional Security System (RSS) to diagnose the gang problem in nine Caribbean nations and developing a regional approach to responding to gangs.  Others are in El Salvador where he examined gangs, migration, and informal social control, the Salvadorian gang truce, and risk and protective factors associated with violence and gang joining among Salvadorian school youth. He is the (co) author of several peer reviewed articles, monographs, and books including Policing Gangs in America (Cambridge University Press: 2006), The Police in America (McGraw Hill: 2013), and Gangs in the Caribbean (University of West Indies Press, 2015).

Download the POWERPOINT


Research in Brief
After-Action Report

Watch the Symposium Webcast 
Section I – Understanding MS13 and the Transnational Link to the USA
Section II – Responding to Salvadorian Street Gangs: What Makes them Different?  


For more information regarding the Homeland Symposium Series please contact Victor M. Manjarrez, Jr. at (915) 747-7812 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

This endeavor is funded by the DHS Science and Technology Directorate, Office of University Programs, under the Borders, Trade and Immigration Institute.