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Hispanic Perceptions of Youth Gangs: A Descriptive Exploration

NCJ Number
Journal of Gang Research Volume: 2 Issue: 3 Dated: (Spring 1995) Pages: 37-49
M Gertz; L Bedard; W Persons
Date Published
13 pages
Hispanic attitudes toward youth gangs were investigated using a survey instrument that included relevant questions about the seriousness of youth gang membership among Hispanics and causes and prevention of youth gang activities.
Most survey respondents were Mexican, between 25 and 44 years of age, and employed full-time. About 83 percent of respondents under 24 years of age believed that Hispanic youth gang membership was a serious problem, as opposed to 72 percent of the overall sample. In addition, respondents under 24 years of age were the least likely to blame lack of parental support as the cause of youth gang membership and the most likely to refuse to answer or say they were not sure. Respondents between 24 and 34 years of age were the least likely to tout increased job opportunities as the most effective preventive measure, although it remained the most popular response for all respondents. Gender exerted a discernible influence for only one question about why Hispanic youth joined street gangs. Educational level and employment status of respondents had little effect on their opinions about the seriousness of the gang problem. With respect to country of origin, Puerto Ricans were far less likely to rate gang membership as a serious problem than other Hispanics and the least likely to blame lack of parental involvement as the cause of gang membership. Central and South Americans were distinctive in that they were far more likely to view gang membership as a serious problem. 32 references and 12 tables