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Graffiti Formats: Are They Gangs or Graffiti Crews?

NCJ Number
Journal of Gang Research Volume: 15 Issue: 2 Dated: Winter 2008 Pages: 1-18
Kenneth A. Davis
Date Published
18 pages
This article examines the dynamics and distinctions of gangs and graffiti crews.
Today, the inner dynamics of gangs and graffiti crews are changing. Attempting to distinguish gang graffiti from graffiti crews’ graffiti can be difficult. Thus it is important for graffiti and gang specialists to update graffiti identification and analysis skills through various online and offline publications. Since early American gangs’ presence, researchers have identified various types of subgroups, in which only a small percentage of them were known to generate graffiti. This article introduces some basic graffiti identification/analysis skills, and some general group characteristics that can assist in distinguishing gangs from graffiti crews. Both frames of reference (gangs and graffiti crews) will be presented in the categories of basic definition, central controlled and multi-coordination, primary and secondary concerns, and both subgroups’ distinct graffiti formats. Photos, charts and references


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