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Gang Profile: The Latin Kings

NCJ Number
Journal of Gang Research Volume: 4 Issue: 1 Dated: (Fall 1996) Pages: 43-72
G W Knox; T F McCurrie
Date Published
30 pages
This paper reviews the history, characteristics, and threat of the Latin Kings, a gang that began in Chicago more than three decades ago and now has influence in 34 States.
The primary source of information for this report was from cooperative gang members. Many "secret" internal documents of the Latin Kings, both from the Chicago original and the east coast version, were also obtained. This paper provides information on the genesis of the Latin Kings, its symbols, the chapter infrastructure, a statistical profile of the typical Latin King members, the female auxiliary unit, gang allies and enemies, financial records, and threat rating. The overall threat rating notes that the Latin Kings are a Level Three gang organization; the gang is a centralized, authoritarian, violent formal organization complete with a written constitution and by-laws. In taking advantage of political corruption, the gang fits the more classic pattern of organized crime. The size of the gang and its penetration of communities outside of its epicenter, along with its propensity for violence, qualify it for an "8" on a 10-point scale of threat severity. The authors advise that Federal prosecution is needed to remove Latin King leaders from the Illinois prisons, where they are still able to administer their gang from behind bars. The Illinois State prison system currently lacks the capability to deal with such hard-core gang leaders who know how to use their "inmate rights" to continue to administer their gang even while incarcerated. Appended transcription of the internal records of the Albany Park Chapter of the Latin Kings for a 6-month period in 1990, 2 figures, and 13 notes