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Gangs and Delinquency

Gangs and Delinquency

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Gangs and Delinquency

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  1. Gangs and Delinquency

  2. CHAPTER OBJECTIVES After completing this chapter, you should be able to: • Explain the difficulties in accurately defining a gang, gang member, and gang-related crime. • Describe the extent of the gang problem. • Differentiate between types of gangs. • Identify the major characteristics of gangs. • Explain why youths join gangs. • Describe the major responses to gangs. • Summarize efforts to control gang activity.

  3. 13.1 Gangs in Society Increasing gang violence and the media frenzy that currently envelops juvenile delinquency has led to widespread attention being paid to street gangs and policies to deal with them. This has not always been the case.

  4. Gangs in Society In the 1980s, concerns about gangs grew because of: The emergence of youth gangs in small and rural communities. The increased diversity of gang composition. The increased use of highly dangerous weapons and the higher level of violence. The controversy surrounding the role of gangs in drug trafficking.

  5. Gangs in Society The word gang has been the most commonly used term to label certain groups considered to be major social problems.

  6. Gangs in Society The simple fact that gangs have existed for so long tells us that there is no simple cure to the problem of gangs. Gangs have changed throughout history to reflect the social and economic condition of society.

  7. Gangs in Society Recently gangs have become: • More violent • More prevalent • Less susceptible to traditional law enforcement intervention

  8. SELF CHECK What circumstances caused members of the juvenile justice system to renew their concern about gangs?

  9. 13.2 Defining Gangs The actual definitions of the terms gang and gang member are as varied as people’s mental images of gangs. However, these definitions are very important, because gang members may receive more severe penalties for their offenses than non-gang members.

  10. What is a Gang? While it is clear that gangs exist in today’s society, there is very little consensus about how a gang should be defined. gang: Any denotable group of adolescents working to unlawful or unsocial ends.

  11. What is a Gang? Michael W. Klein in Street Gangs and Street Workers defined a gang as any denotable adolescent group who: • are generally perceived as a distinct aggregation by others in their neighborhood; • recognize themselves as a denotable group; and • have been involved in a sufficient number of delinquent incidents to call forth a consistent negative response from the neighborhood.

  12. What is a Gang? Walter B. Miller, in Gangs, Groups, and Serious Youth Crime, defined a gang as: • A self-formed association of peers, bound together by mutual interests, with identifiable leadership, well defined lines of authority, and other organizational features, who act in concert to achieve a specific purpose or purposes which generally include illegal activity and control over a particular territory, facility, or type of enterprise.

  13. What is a Gang? How a gang is defined has implications for theory and policy, and will influence how resources are spent. A vague definition could lead to too many youths being targeted by police and prosecutors trying to be “tough on crime.”

  14. What is a Gang? Research on gangs has concluded that very few youths are actually hard-core gang members. gang member: An individual who actively participates in the activities of a gang. Criteria to distinguish gang members are not very clear-cut.

  15. What is a Gang? Many individuals believe that most gang members are peripheral, transitory, or wanna-bes. wanna-be: A youth who wants to be a gang member and emulates the behavior of gang members.

  16. Why Do Youths Join Gangs? Prominent reasons why youths join gangs include: • Gangs provide youths with an opportunity to associate with their peers and obtain a sense of belonging. • Gangs provide the prospect of obtaining money through crime such as burglary and drug dealing. • Youths are seeking protection from other youths in the community.

  17. What is Gang-Related Crime? No matter how gangs and gang members are defined, there is concern about what is meant by gang-related crime. gang-related crime: Acts of delinquency in which the offender or the victim is a gang member.

  18. What is Gang-Related Crime? Differences in the definition of gang-related crime affect public perceptions of crime generally and the gang problem specifically in the community.

  19. What is Gang-Related Crime? These differences in definitions raise related questions: • If an individual is a gang member, are all of the offenses he or she commit gang-related? • Should only collective delinquent events be considered gang-related? • If an individual uses his or her gang reputation to commit individual offenses, should these acts be considered gang-related?

  20. MYTH FACT All gangs frequently commit violent crimes. Only 28% of gangs have a high degree of involvement in aggravated assault, and only 13% in robbery.

  21. SELF CHECK • Explain why defining gangs is so important. • Name three reasons why young people join gangs.

  22. 13.3 The Extent of the Gang Problem It is difficult to accurately estimate the number of gangs and gang members in the U.S. because of the different ways gangs are defined. However, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention surveyed police and sheriff’s departments to obtain information about the presence of youth gangs.

  23. Top Ten States by Number of Gangs Reported FIGURE 13-3

  24. Top Ten States by Number of Gang Members FIGURE 13-4

  25. The Extent of the Gang Problem A recent study found that no state is gang free, and youth gangs are emerging in new localities, especially smaller and rural communities.

  26. MYTH FACT Gangs exist only in large cities. A third of cities with population of less than 25,000 report that active youth gangs exist in their communities.

  27. SELF CHECK Which three states have the largest number of gangs? The largest number of gang members?

  28. 13.4 Types of Gangs There are many different types of gangs. Researcher C. Ronald Huff identified three major types: hedonistic gang: A type of gang that is primarily involved in using drugs and getting high with little involvement in crime. • Hedonistic gangs

  29. Types of Gangs • Instrumental gangs instrumental gang: A gang that is primarily involved in committing property crime and is actively involved in using drugs.

  30. Types of Gangs • Predatory gangs predatory gang: A gang that is actively involved in committing serious crimes including violent crime and selling drugs.

  31. Types of Gangs Predatory gangs are the most stereotypical, but the least prevalent.

  32. Types of Gangs Another typology of gangs was developed by authors Cheryl Maxson and Malcolm Klein:

  33. Types of Gangs • Traditional gang traditional gang: A gang that has as many as several hundred members and has been in existence for over 20 years. The gang has a well-defined territory and has members who range in age from 10 to over 30.

  34. Types of Gangs neotraditional gang: A gang that is smaller and newer than the traditional gang. • Neotraditional gang • Compressed gang compressed gang: A gang that is relatively new, with fewer than 50 members around the same age. The gang does not have a defined territory.

  35. Types of Gangs • Collective gang collective gang: A gang that has a short history, limited size, and little defined territory.

  36. Types of Gangs • Specialty gang specialty gang: A gang that has a defined territory, narrow age range of members, and is small in size. The gang is actively involved in serious criminal activity including drug trafficking.

  37. Types of Gangs Collective and specialty gangs are the least prevalent.

  38. SELF CHECK • List the different types of gangs according to C. Ronald Huff. • Which type of gangs are the least prevalent according to the classifications established by Maxson and Klein?

  39. 13.5 Characteristics of Gangs There are six major characteristics of gangs: • Age • Race and ethnicity • Gender • Gang migration • Communication • Delinquent activity

  40. Age Gang members have typically been seen as juveniles. • Juveniles first learn about gangs at age 9… • get involved in violence at 10 or 11… • and join a gang at about 12.

  41. Age Recently, evidence has shown gang members continue their gang activity into adulthood.

  42. Age Two primary reasons are cited for the change in age of gang members: • Loss of low-skilled manufacturing jobs • Increased emphasis on drug dealing

  43. Race and Ethnicity No racial or ethnic group is excluded from gang participation. • Typically, gangs are racially or ethnically homogenous • The conflict between gangs usually involves gangs of the same racial or ethnic background.

  44. Gender—Females and Gangs Until recently, most research on gangs focused on male participation in gangs.

  45. Gender—Females and Gangs The traditional female role would be to form a female auxiliary gang. Females would: female auxiliary gang: A female gang that is affiliated with a male gang and generally takes on a feminized version of the male gang’s name. • Act as lookout • Carry guns and drugs • Be girlfriends

  46. Gender—Females and Gangs • It is now estimated that 20 to 30% of all gang members are female. • Female gang members are as likely as males to participate in drug use and delinquent activity, but less frequently than males. • Recently, females have formed autonomous gangs, without connection to male gangs.

  47. Gang Migration Most gangs are “home grown.” However, the majority of gang proliferation in recent years is due to gang migration. gang migration: The movement of gangs from large metropolitan areas such as Los Angeles and Chicago to other areas of the country.

  48. Gang Migration There are two perspectives on gang migration: • Established metropolitan gangs migrate to other areas to set up local chapters for drug distribution. • Gang migration is accidental and occurs because: • A gang member’s family relocates. • A group of youths decides to establish a gang and borrow the name, colors, and symbols of an established, metropolitan gang.

  49. Communication Gangs want recognition from rival gangs as well as from the larger community. Gangs primarily communicate through: • Graffiti graffiti: Public markings used by gang members to identify their existence. • Tattoos • Hand signs • Clothing

  50. Communication Gangs use graffiti to: • Identify their existence • Mark their territory • Challenge rival gangs • Remember deceased gang members