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Hispanic/Latin Gangs: A Comparative Analysis of Nationally Affiliated and Local Gangs

NCJ Number
Journal of Gang Research Volume: 14 Issue: 2 Dated: Winter 2007 Pages: 1-18
Douglas L. Yearwood; Alison Rhyne
Date Published
18 pages
This article presents results from a survey on Hispanic/Latino gangs in North Carolina seeking to differentiate gangs having known or validated national affiliations and those gangs that are strictly local in nature.
Study findings indicated that numerous statistically significant differences existed between and across the nationally affiliated Hispanic/Latino gangs and the local gangs with no known national connections. Differences were also found to exist between the urban and rural gangs. As a general rule, the nationally affiliated Hispanic/Latino gangs were somewhat visible, mobile, violent, profit-oriented, and involved in drug-related activities. The most prevalent, most violent, most drug-involved, and more extensively organized nationally affiliated gangs were the MS-13 and Sur-13. Urban gangs, especially those with national affiliations, appeared to be more problematic and demonstrated a greater potential for becoming more of a community threat. Inconsistencies exist in the academic literature surrounding the extent to which gangs are local entities, with no documented networks or connections to other gangs beyond their respective cities or counties, or possess strong links or ties to other national gangs. In addition, limited research has been conducted focusing on specific types of gangs along racial and ethnic lines. This study sought to address this deficiency or void in the gang literature by comparing nationally affiliated Hispanic/Latino gangs with each other as well as drawing comparisons between these nationally affiliated gangs and local Hispanic/Latino gangs with no known or validated national affiliations. These gangs were also analyzed along a rural/urban dichotomy in an effort to determine if significant differences existed along geographical lines. As part of a larger and more general law enforcement survey on Hispanic/Latino gangs in North Carolina, survey respondents were asked to differentiate between those gangs having known or validated national affiliations and those gangs that were only local in nature: i.e. those gangs that did not have documented ties to other gangs outside of the local county unit of government. Tables, figures and references