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APA FORMAT! use only powerpoint and chapter text providedminimum of 1 page answerDiscussion Chapter Seventeen: Discuss, in detail, gang involvement and the increased risk of offending.
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Chapter 17
Gang Involvement
and Predatory
Crime
Jean Marie McGloin
Overview
• Recent decades have witnessed a large growth in
street gang presence and activity (Curry & Decker,
2003; Howell, 1998)
• *By 2004, the National Youth Gang Center
estimated that there are approximately:
– 760,000 street gang members
– 26,000 street gangs across
– 3,000 jurisdictions in the U.S.
– As of 2017, the FBI estimates that there are
33,500 gangs (street gang, security threat
groups, outlaw motorcycle gangs) accounting
for approximately 1.3 million gang members.
Overview
•
•
•
•
Types of “Gangs”:
–
–
–
–
–
–
–
–
–
Troublesome youth groups
Motorcycle gangs
Youth subculture groups
Delinquent groups
Taggers
Youth/street gangs
Super-gangs or gang nations
Transnational (?) gangs
Prison gangs/Security Threat Groups
Other Types of Street Gangs:
–
–
–
–
Hedonistic gangs – use drugs, but do not sell drugs, almost never
violent
Drug gangs – deal in drugs but tend to avoid violent behavior
Scavenger gangs – urban survivors
Predatory gangs – the fewest in number but tend to be the most violent
*70% of street gang members remain a member for one year
or less – this does not apply to motorcycle gangs or prison
gangs/security threat groups.
*There is no one best description of a gang member and no
one single definition that defines a gang or gang member.
Overview
• Street gangs have been in existence in the United
States since 1783.
• *The first gangs emerged after the American
Revolution ended in 1783 among white
European immigrants
• *The largest number of gangs and gang
members are in Los Angeles, Chicago has the
second highest number of gangs and gang
members.
• *Two gangs in Los Angeles are considered to be
transnational gang: the 18th Street Gang and
MS-13.
Overview
• *In the research conducted by Klein in 1995 he
found that watching gang members is boring
because they sleep, get up late, hang around,
brag a lot, eat, drink, and hang around some
more. *Only a fraction of their time is dedicated
to gang activity.
• *Numerous female gangs exists and can be as
violent as their male counterpart. The mere fact
that females are in a gang (male or hybrid) does
not diminish the potential for violence.
Overview
•
•
•
•
•
Violence is a hallmark of gang life.
*Youth enter gangs through a violent initiation ritual
sometimes referred to as “beat in” or “v’ed in” or
“jumped in.” During this ritual the prospective gang
members is pummeled to prove heart and
toughness.
They also exit through violence.
Gangs encourage members to engage in violence.
Although innocent people have been harmed in gangrelated violence, more than anything else, members
target and harm one another.
Overview
•
•
•
•
•
Gangs have shown an expansion of members’ age,
ethnicity, as well as an increase in female membership
Membership in street gangs is not simply for young,
minority males
These apparent quantitative and qualitative shifts in the
character of street gangs and gang membership are
interesting, but they do not compel the attention of
criminologist in isolation
*As the prevalence of street gangs increased
nationally, Chicago saw a 500% growth in gangmotivated homicides from 1987-1994
*The increase in homicides from 1999-2001 in
California was fully attributable to an upswing in
gang homicides in Los Angeles County
Overview
• Instead, it is the criminal element that invites our
attention
• *Research has long suggested that predatory
crime is somehow part, if not a product, of gang
life
• Scholars and practitioners alike invest resources in
understanding the relationship between gang
involvement and offending behavior
Overview
• This chapter reviews these linkages between
gang involvement and offending behavior
• It pays particular attention to the theoretical
mechanism that underlies it, as well as
considers what may be uniquely criminogenic
about gang membership
• It also discusses the implications of this linkage,
focusing on policy and intervention
considerations
Involvement & Increased
Risk of Offending
• *A number of studies have found that gang
members tend to be more serious offenders
than their non-gang counterparts and are
responsible for a disproportionate amount
of crime
• Battin et al. (1996) investigated this pattern
within the Seattle Social Development Project
• Among their findings, Battin et al. discovered
three important points
Involvement & Increased
Risk of Offending
•
•
•
•
*A number of studies have found that gang members
tend to be more serious offenders than their non-gang
counterparts and that they are responsible for a
disproportionate amount of crime.
*Data from the Rochester Youth Development Study
reveal that gang members are significantly more likely to
report involvement in violence than non-gang members.
*At the same time, 30% of youth in this sample selfreported gang membership, but they were responsible
for 65% of the reported delinquent acts over a four-year
period.
*This disproportionate involvement emerged across
levels of crime seriousness, as well as for violent and
property crime.
Involvement & Increased
Risk of Offending
•
•
•
*Similarly, approximately 14% of the subjects in the
Denver Youth Study over a four-year period reported
being gang members but were responsible for 79% of
the reported serious violence and 71% of the reported
serious property crime.
*At the same time, gang members in this sample selfreported approximately two to three times more
delinquency than non-gang members.
*Data from the Seattle Social Development Project
revealed gang members comprised 15% of the sample,
but were responsible for approximately 58% of
delinquent acts reported over a four-year period.
Involvement & Increased
Risk of Offending
• *Gang members consistently were more serious
delinquents and were responsible for the lion’s
share of crime
• *These findings were based on self-reports
– thus it’s not the case that this relationship simply
reflects a systematic bias of official records being
more likely to capture the behavior of gang members
than that of non-gang members
• *This trend cuts across types of predatory
crime, which suggests a general connection
between gang membership and offending
behavior
Involvement & Increased
Risk of Offending
• Interestingly, this “risk” of gang involvement for
offending appears to exist on a continuum
• Curry, Decker and Egley (2002) acknowledge
that most gangs are loosely organized and that
the process of affiliation or disaffiliation is rarely
rapid or spontaneous
• *The increased risk of delinquency is not
specific to gang membership, but also
extends to individuals who associate with
street gangs
Involvement & Increased
Risk of Offending
• *Just as the division between gang and nongang members is not always clear-cut, but
rather exists on a spectrum, not all gang
members are the same
• *Research has long shown that gang members
vary in the extent to which they are committed
to/embedded in street gangs (Klein, 1995)
• *The more involved and embedded members
tend to be more criminally active when
compared to peripheral, less embedded
members
Involvement & Increased
Risk of Offending
• *Core members – those who are involved in
many gang activities and have more stable
memberships
• *Peripheral members – those who are relatively
less involved and have more transient stays in
the gang
• Indeed, research has revealed that being a central
member of a delinquent group serves to amplify
one’s incidence of criminal behavior (Haynie, 2001)
Involvement & Increased
Risk of Offending
• *The information provided, along with previous
findings, underscores the robustness of the
linkage between gang involvement and
predatory crime
• Some people may presume that this relationship
suggests that gang involvement causes delinquent
behavior, but this is not the only possible
interpretation
• Linkage reflects enduring individual-level
differences in criminal propensity, not some
detrimental impact of gang involvement
Why is There a Relationship?
• *Scholars have long debated the theoretical
“meaning” of gang membership in much the same
was as they have the relationship between having
deviant peers and an increased likelihood of offending
–
–
This linkage serves as a place of intersection between
learning and control theories of crime, which adopt
decidedly different viewpoints
Other perspectives certainly have the ability to comment
on the importance of deviant peers with regard to
offending, but learning and control theories nonetheless
have largely defined and structured this debate
Why is There a Relationship?
• *The facilitation or socialization model views gang
involvement/membership as causally meaningful
• *Based primarily on propositions from differential
association and social learning theories, it assumes
that the normative processes of the gang/delinquent
peer group create and sustain delinquents
• Simply, without this social-psychological context, the
individual might not engage in delinquency – thus,
the gang is criminogenically important and deserves
our attention
Figure 1. A schematic showing how the socialization/ facilitation and selection
models view the linkage between gang involvement and offending
Socialization/Facilitation Model
Gang Membership
Offending Behavior
Selection Model
Gang Membership
Offending Behavior
Social controls/self-control
Why is There a Relationship?
• *The selection model asserts that gang
membership does not hold any causal
significance with regard to delinquency
• *This model argues that the relationship is
spurious; a common factor explains both gang
membership and delinquency – as Figure 1
demonstrates
• *It proposes that an individual will offend when
social controls or self-control are weak
Why is There a Relationship?
• *Under the premise of “birds flock together”,
the gang simply reflects the already established
tendencies of its members; it does not cause
delinquency
– Gottfredson and Hirschi (1990) state: “adventuresome
and reckless children who have difficulty making and
keeping friends tend to end up in the company of one
another, creating groups made up of individuals who
tend to lack self-control…”
o
Thus Gottfredson and Hirschi (1990) assert that low self-control
underlies both involvement with street gangs and delinquency
Why is There a Relationship?
• *Some researchers believe that it’s more accurate to
consider the possibility that controls, learning
environments and delinquency influence each other in
a reciprocal manner
• *The enhancement model represents a middle-ground
or compromise between the control and learning sides
of this theoretical debate
• *These perspectives all have conceptual merit and can
potentially explain the linkage between gang
involvement and a heightened risk of offending
Why is There a Relationship?
• In order to truly shed insight on which
theoretical perspective has the most merit,
researchers have turned to longitudinal data
• Doing so allows a finer investigation of
connection between the timing of gang
membership and criminal behavior, about which
the selection and socialization models offer
divergent predictions
Timing of Gang Membership & Delinquency
• Esbensen and Huizinga (1993) investigated the
temporal relationship between gang membership
and delinquent behavior in order to shed insight on
this theoretical debate
– *Their findings revealed that offending prevalence
among gang members was higher than non-gang
subjects prior to their membership; which provides
initial support for the selection model
– The results also provided some support for the
socialization model since the offending prevalence
among gang members declined subsequent to
leaving the gang
Timing of Gang Membership & Delinquency
• *Esbensen and Huizinga (1993) discovered, when
looking at individual-level offending, that offending
rates among gang members were particularly
pronounced during the time of membership
• *This aspect of their research found the most support
and the strongest support for the enhancement
model.
• Although youth who are already more delinquent may
gravitate towards gangs, there’s also something
criminogenic about the gang that amplifies their
behavior
Timing of Gang Membership & Delinquency
• *Gordon et al. (2004) discovered that boys who
joined gangs were more delinquent than their
non-gang counterparts before they were active
members
• They also found that criminal behavior increased
significantly among gang members when they were
actively part of the gang and diminished after
leaving the gang
• *Gangs do provide some facilitating effect with
regard to delinquency, even if gang members
were more criminally active prior to membership
Timing of Gang Membership & Delinquency
• The natural question that follows, therefore, is why
gang membership acts as a facilitator
• Is it that gang members are simply exposed to a
greater number of more serious delinquent peers?
• *If so, then there is not something uniquely
criminogenic about the gang or gang
membership, per se, but rather gangs are
simply another form of a delinquent peer group
Timing of Gang Membership & Delinquency
• Gordon et al. (2004) found that exposure to
delinquent peers was one socializing
mechanism at work for gang members
• Battin et al. (1998) also investigated whether
delinquent peer associations were able to explain
the effect gang membership has on criminal
involvement
• *They found that being a gang member exerted
an effect on delinquency above and beyond
having delinquent friends – and suggest that
there’s something uniquely criminogenic about
gang membership
What’s Unique About Gang
Membership?
• The main focus is namely the interactive social
processes that are part of gang life
• *Although a street gang is arguably a type of
delinquent peer group, it’s a particularly
powerful social network that often embraces
predatory and violent behavior
• Individuals who gravitate towards gang
involvement are often marginalized from
acquiring status in general society via legitimate
means
What’s Unique About Gang Membership?
•
•
•
*The nature of gang life can structure certain
expectations and support social processes that
facilitate the offending behavior of gang-involved
youth
Decker (1996) reviewed interview data from 99 gang
members in St. Louis and argued that gang violence
was an expressive result of interactive social processes
Offending behavior often becomes an intimate part of
acquiring and maintaining social status within the gang,
which might help us to understand the mechanism
whereby gangs facilitate predatory behavior
What’s Unique About Gang Membership?
• Esbensen et al. (1993) discovered that gang
members and non-gang members looked quite
similar across an array of psycho-social
variables
• Accordingly, individuals involved in gangs might
also be perceived expectations from those in
larger society to act or behave in a predatory
fashion
• Under the premise of labeling theory, this may
set a self-fulfilling prophesy in motion
Policy Implications
• *The fact that gang members are responsible for
a disproportionate amount of crime clearly
warrants intervention strategies and resources
• A vast array of gang prevention and intervention
programs exist, though our sense of “what works” is
fairly limited
• The purpose of this chapter is to elaborate on
implications for anti-gang programs in light of the
previous discussion about the linkage between
gang involvement and predatory crime
Policy Implications
•
•
•
*Prevention programs are directed at the general
population, which is in contrast to intervention
strategies that are directed at at-risk populations or
groups
Only directing policies or programs at individuals who
are already gang members or gang associates would
miss the opportunity to prevent these linkages and
reduce the risk of increased offending
*It’s important to note that programs that attempt to
prevent the development of linkages to gangs do
and should exist
Policy Implications
•
•
•
•
*One relatively well-known prevention program is
Gang Resistance and Education Training (GREAT).
This is a school-based program in which law
enforcement officers act as instructors.
Although the efficacy of GREAT is not clear, it is
important to note that programs that attempt to
prevent the development of gangs and gang
behavior do and should exist.
The most successful programs incorporate
prevention, intervention, and suppression
strategies.
Policy Implications
•
The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency
Prevention’s (OJJDP’s) Model Programs Guide (MPG)
contains information about evidence-based juvenile
justice and youth prevention, intervention, and reentry
programs. It is a resource for practitioners and
communities about what works, what is promising, and
what does not work in juvenile justice, delinquency
prevention, and child protection and safety.
•
MPG uses expert study reviewers and
CrimeSolutions.gov’s program review process, scoring
instrument, and evidence ratings. The two sites also
share a common database of juvenile-related programs.
Policy Implications
• This chapter also suggests that all individuals who
are linked to the gang are equal in their connections
• Levels of involvement in the gang may reflect
gradations in the “dangerousness” posed to public
safety, further suggesting a benefit to differentiating
among the types and extent of linkages to street
gangs
• *Programs would be well-served by seeing
gangs as social networks in which positions and
the extent of “gang involvement” varies
Policy Implications
•
•
*A manner in which to do this is to appeal to a
particular method during the problem analysis
phase-network analysis
*Primary purpose of network analysis is to reveal
the presence of any regular patterns in social
relationships
– rather than focus on on attributes of individuals it
focuses on the associations or linkages among
people
•
Important to be cautious that intervention
programs do not have the unintended
consequences of strengthening an individual’s
linkage to the gang
Policy Implications
• *Law enforcement attention to gangs, through arrest,
patrol, surveillance, and other suppressive tactics,
can serve as a powerful external source of cohesion
• *When allocating resources for prevention strategies,
it is likely that law enforcement will put more
attention on core members of a gang because this
stops a large proportion of crime and linkages to
peripheral members.
• *It provides the group with a common point of
conflict and solidified identity, setting a self-fulfilling
prophesy in motion
• *Such a risk is not limited to suppressive tactics
Policy Implications
• *For example, the Los Angeles Group Guidance
Project offered many positive activities to the
local gangs in an attempt to integrate street
gang members into the prosocial community
– *Unfortunately, this program provided the gang
members with more opportunities to socialize which produced a more cohesive gang that was
involved in more crime
– Therefore, it’s very important for policy-makers and
those part of an intervention to consider the level of
gang involvement when planning a strategy
Conclusion
• This chapter discussed the positive correlation
between gang involvement and predatory crime
• The socialization/facilitation model argues that
gang membership plays a causal role in
offending behavior
• Whereas the selection model maintains that this
relationship merely reflects more serious
offenders self-selecting into gang membership
Conclusion
• *Evidence presented in this chapter …
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