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YOUTH GANGS IN SOUTHERN NEW MEXICO: A QUALITATIVE ANALYSIS

NCJ Number
146458
Author(s)
G L Mays; L T Winfree Jr; S Jackson
Date Published
Unknown
Length
23 pages
Annotation
In response to growing juvenile gang activity, the Las Cruces (New Mexico) City Council formed a task force which conducted interviews with 22 youngsters identified by school officials as gang participants.
Abstract
Consistent with most gang research, 20 of the 22 adolescents interviewed were male. Most of these students were Hispanic, and a few were black; the majority were 16 and 17 years old. Eight of the interviewees lived with one parent and nine lived with both parents; the rest lived in a variety of circumstances. Eleven of the respondents felt the city had no significant gang problem. Most of the students interviewed exhibited a degree of ambivalence toward the gang lifestyle, saying they would try to prevent a sibling from joining a gang but being unable to see themselves outside of the gang. While it appears that family frictions and problems may be a contributing factor in gang membership, the most important influence was exerted by peers. Gangs for the most part met some unfilled need in the lives of the youngsters involved in them. 4 notes and 19 references