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Confronting Gangs: Crime and Community

NCJ Number
G D Curry; S H Decker
Date Published
221 pages
Designed for courses on gangs, delinquency, criminology, violence, social problems, juvenile justice, and criminal justice, this book provides students with links between the gang literature and traditional criminological, criminal justice, and sociological approaches to gangs.
A central thesis of the book is that gangs and strategies to address them can only be understood and devised through an analysis of the communities in which they exist. The book begins by describing what is involved in defining gangs and identifying gang members. A unique feature of the first chapter is the inclusion of the views of gang members from a number of cities. The second chapter examines the link between gang membership and involvement in crime and delinquency, as it concludes that gang membership enhances criminal and delinquent involvement. This chapter draws heavily from community-based field studies of gangs. Chapter 3 describes the gang experience, including the joining process, gang initiation, involvement in violence, painting graffiti, and leaving gangs. Chapter 4 focuses on drug sales by gangs. Two views about the role that gangs and gang members play in drug sales are contrasted. Chapter 5 covers female gang involvement, including some reasons why young women join gangs and their activities within gangs. Chapter 6 provides some balance in the view of the lives of gang members by considering the social institutions to which they belong, particularly their families. The next chapter provides a comprehensive review of recent State and Federal initiatives for dealing with gangs. It examines the characteristics of programs - - how they were formulated and what they intend to accomplish -- as well as their impact. The concluding chapter offers the reader a number of issues to consider. Some of the issues pertain to theories that explain the development of gang and gang activity. Also discussed are several policy initiatives designed to address the gang problem. 208 references and author and subject indexes