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Gangs and the Web: Gang Members' Online Behavior

NCJ Number
Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice Volume: 28 Issue: 4 Dated: November 2012 Pages: 389-405
Revital Sela-Shayovitz
Date Published
November 2012
17 pages
This study examined how gang members proactively use the Internet.
There is a lack of research on gang members' online behavior. The present study addresses this shortcoming by examining how gang members proactively use the Internet. Data were collected by means of in-depth, semistructured interviews with gang members. In addition, based on reports of gang members, the analysis focused on their group activity on the Web. The findings reveal that the Internet does neither play a role in gang formation nor promote considerable changes in group traditional delinquency. However, it does influence socializing processes: Youths who have high-level computer knowledge provide guidance to others, which increases online delinquency. Moreover, the level of computer skills is a key factor in gang involvement in cybercrime: for gangs with members who have high-level computer skills, online delinquency becomes a routine part of the gang's life, and interaction with other groups around the globe facilitates their involvement in cybercrime. Abstract published by arrangement with Sage Journals.