Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice Volume: 55 Issue: 3 Dated: July 2013 Pages: 421-452
The article introduces a unique method for attempting to understand the environments within which street gangs operate.
By analyzing police wiretaps, the authors explore gang street codes, violence in prison, and drug trafficking. They conclude that gang membership seldom provides the supportive, family-type advantages that entice youth into belonging but rather are characterized more by tension, violence, and betrayal, both from rival gangs and from fellow gang members. While generalizability of the findings is limited, the gang leaders captured in these conversations may not be easily dissuaded from gang membership, and therefore the emphasis must be on preventing the recruitment of new members. As supported by other research, the policy implications that flow from these findings are the need for a better balance between enforcement dollars (gangs 'n' guns policing) and a greater allocation of funds into "real" job creation programs, accessible mental health support, adequate and affordable housing, well-funded social service agencies, in addition to policing that is committed to working in support of these communities. (Published Abstract)