The annual National Gang Threat Assessment, released yesterday by the FBI, classifies our friends the Juggalos as a "loosely-organized hybrid gang" that is "forming more organized subsets and engaging in more gang-like criminal activity." The grouping ranks them as a kind of junior varsity version of the Latin Kings and other officially recognized U.S. gangs.
From the report:
Most crimes committed by Juggalos are sporadic, disorganized, individualistic, and often involve simple assault, personal drug use and possession, petty theft, and vandalism. However, open source reporting suggests that a small number of Juggalos are forming more organized subsets and engaging in more gang-like criminal activity, such as felony assaults, thefts, robberies, and drug sales. Social networking websites are a popular conveyance for Juggalo sub-culture to communicate and expand.
I have never been in a gang before, but I have been to the Gathering Of The Juggalos dressed as a Juggalette before, and the only component of the FBI's analysis that sounds accurate to me is the term "loose." There is also admittedly quite a bit of drug use.
The document goes on to describe a "disorganization and lack of structure" amongst the Juggalos, and makes note of their "transient nature." Because of this, the FBI allows, it is "difficult to classify them and identify their members and migration patterns."
The organization is, of course, ignoring the most proven way to understand the group they're straining so hard to define: Go to the Gathering and write a feature article about them. Everybody's doing it.
Photo by Bucky Turco for Animal New York.