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Transnationalism: Law Enforcement Perception's of Gang Activity on the Texas/Mexico Border

NCJ Number
Journal of Gang Research Volume: 21 Issue: 3 Dated: Spring 2014 Pages: 1-15
John J. Rodriguez, Ph.D; Raymond A. Eve, Ph.D.; Alejandro Del Carmen, Ph.D.; Seokjin Jeong, Ph.D.
Date Published
15 pages
Based on a survey of local and county law enforcement agencies along the Texas/Mexico border, this study reviewed those agencies' views of transnational gang activity on the U.S. side of the border.
The survey responses indicate that a significant number of law enforcement agencies are concerned about transnational gangs operating in the United States along the Texas/Mexico border; however, the authors advise that the data collected are not sufficient to conclude that transnational gangs pose a major threat to U.S. society, as is sometimes portrayed in the media. Law enforcement agencies' main concern about transnational gangs along the border is respondents' perception that they are involved in drug distribution in the United States and associated violence. Of the surveys returned, 59.9 percent (n=28) of the agencies reported active transnational gangs in their jurisdictions. The remaining agencies (n=19) reported "no" transnational gang activity in their jurisdictions. Twenty-six transnational gangs were identified, with the average age of gang members indicated to be 28.5 years old. Twenty-four of the gangs were composed predominantly of males, and 2 were composed mostly of female members. As expected, the gangs were composed mostly of Hispanic members; 2 had mostly White members. Respondents indicated that members of at least 22 gangs moved back and forth across the border. These gang members were believed by respondents to be involved in drug trafficking. The drugs trafficked by these gangs were reported to be powder cocaine, crack cocaine, marijuana, heroin, meth, and ecstasy, with powder cocaine and marijuana perceived as the most prevalent. A first wave of questionnaires was sent out in the fall of 2009, yielding a response rate of 16 percent (n=19). A follow-up was administered in the spring of 2010, which increased the response rate to 39.1 percent, for a total of 47 respondents. 9 tables and 29 references


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