You are here

Gangs in America's Communities
Share

Gangs in America's Communities

Second Edition
Additional resources:


March 2015 | 344 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
Gangs in America's Communities offers a comprehensive, up-to-date, and theoretically grounded approach to gangs and associated youth violence. Authors Dr. James C. Howell and Dr. Elizabeth Griffiths introduce readers to the foundations of gang studies through the origins of gangs, definitions and categories of youth/street gangs, transnational as well as prison gangs (and the distinctions between these arguably different types), national trends in gang presence and gang-related violence across American cities, distinguishing attributes of serious street gangs, and myths and realities.  

Students and instructors will benefit from the Second Edition’s comprehensive treatment of the state of the literature on individual-level causes and consequences of gang membership.  Going beyond the traditional topics covered in most texts in the market, this book uniquely describes specific gang patterns, trends, and cultures within a group-based structure while illuminating the most promising avenues for reducing the presence and seriousness of gangs in American communities.
 
Chapter 1: History of Gangs in the United States
Introduction

 
The Influence of Population Migration Patterns on Gang Emergence

 
Street Gang Emergence in the Northeast Region

 
First Period of New York City Gang Growth

 
Second Period of New York City Gang Growth

 
Third Period of New York City Gang Growth

 
Modern-Day Eastern Gangs

 
Street Gang Emergence in the Midwest Region

 
First Period of Chicago Gang Growth

 
Second Period of Chicago Gang Growth

 
Third Period of Chicago Gang Growth

 
Modern-Day Midwest Gangs

 
Street Gang Emergence in the West Region

 
First Period of Los Angeles Gang Growth

 
Second Period of Los Angeles Gang Growth

 
Third Period of Los Angeles Gang Growth

 
Modern-Day Western Gangs

 
Street Gang Emergence in the South Region

 
First Period of Southern Gang Growth

 
Second Period of Southern Gang Growth

 
Modern-Day Southern Gangs

 
Another Wave of Immigrant Groups

 
The Institutionalization of Street Gangs

 
 
Chapter 2: Myths and Realities of Youth Gangs
Introduction

 
Consideration of Key Myths About Gangs

 
Myth 1: Most Gangs Have a Formal Organization

 
Myth 2: Gangs of the Same Name Are Connected

 
Myth 3: Our Gangs Came From Somewhere Else

 
Myth 4: The Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) and 18th Street (M-18) Gangs Are Spreading Across the United States

 
Myth 5: Gangs, Drugs, and Violence Are Inexorably Linked

 
Myth 6: A “Wanna-Be” Is a “Gonna-Be

 
Myth 7: Children Are Joining Gangs at Younger and Younger Ages

 
Myth 8: Gang Members Spend Most of Their Time Planning or Committing Crimes

 
Myth 9: Gangs Often Have Highly Unusual Initiation Rites

 
Myth 10: Most Youths Are Pressured to Join Gangs

 
Myth 11: Adults Recruit Many Adolescents to Join Gangs

 
Myth 12: Once Kids Join a Gang, They’re Pretty Much Lost for Good

 
Myth 13: The Gang’s Here for Good

 
Myth 14: Gang Members Are a New Wave of Super Predators

 
Myth 15: Gangs Were Actively Involved in the Crack Cocaine Epidemic

 
Myth 16: Zero Tolerance of Gang Behaviors Will Eliminate Gangs From Schools

 
Myth 17: Sole Reliance on Law Enforcement Will Wipe Out Gangs

 
Myth 18: Nothing Works With Gangs

 
 
Chapter 3: Defining Gangs and Gang Members
Introduction

 
Defining Gangs

 
Typologies of Gang Members and Gang Structures

 
A Spectrum of Gangs and Other Groups

 
Gang Subculture

 
Key Elements of a Gang Definition

 
A Recommended Gang Definition for Practical Purposes

 
Defining Gang Members

 
National Data on Gang Members

 
National Data on the Number of Gangs and Associated Members

 
Age of Gang Members

 
Race and Ethnicity of Gang Members

 
Gender

 
 
Chapter 4: General Macro-Level Theories and Modern-Day Applications
Introduction

 
The Chicago School and Development of the Social Disorganization Perspective

 
Thrasher’s Contributions to Social Disorganization Theory

 
Application of Social Disorganization Theory to Gangs

 
Modern-Day Application of Social Disorganization Theory to Gangs

 
Other Pioneering Gang Theorizing

 
An Explanation of Gang Origins, Expansion, and Violence

 
Macro-level Theories

 
Underclass Theory

 
Routine Activities (Opportunity) Theory

 
Conflict Theory

 
 
Chapter 5: Gang Involvement as a Developmental Trajectory
Introduction

 
Developmental Theories

 
Developmental Delinquency Pathways

 
Location of Gang Membership in Developmental Pathways

 
A Developmental Model of Gang Involvement

 
Perceived Benefits of Joining a Gang: Gang Attractions

 
Relationship of Risk Factors to Gang Involvement

 
A Delinquency and Gang Theory

 
A Review of Risk and Protective Factors for Gang Involvement

 
The Preschool Stage

 
The School Entry Stage

 
The Later Childhood Stage

 
The Early Adolescence Stage

 
Protective Factors

 
Apex of Gang Member Criminal Activity

 
Long-term Impact of Gangs on Participant

 
Desistance from Gang Membership

 
 
Chapter 6: Girls and Gangs
Introduction

 
Females in Early Gang Studies

 
Modern-Day Studies of Female Gang Members

 
Level of Female Gang Involvement and Seriousness of Crimes

 
The Question of Increasing Female Gang Involvement

 
The Importance of Gang Gender Composition

 
Female Associates of Gang Members: Risks and Re-victimization

 
Risk Factors for Girls’ Gang Joining

 
Girls’ Unique Treatment Needs and Implications for Prevention and Treatment

 
Recommended Female-Specific Services

 
Recommended Gender-Neutral Services

 
 
Chapter 7: National Gang Problem Trends: 1996 to 2009
Introduction

 
An Overview of Nationwide Gang Activity in the Modern Era

 
Gang Growth From the 1960s to the 1990s

 
Explanations of Gang Growth in the 1980s and 1990s

 
Nationally Reported Youth Gang Activity From the Mid-1990s

 
Patterns in U.S. Localities’ Histories of Gang Activity

 
Patterns of Gang Emergence

 
Presence of Gang Activity, 1996 – 2009

 
Patterns of Gang Presence in Larger Cities

 
Political & Criminal Justice Context

 
Economic Context

 
Demographic Context

 
Cultural Context

 
Modal Cities

 
Chronic Gang City: Modesto, California

 
Emerging Gang City: Warwick, Rhode Island

 
Contracting Gang City: Newport Beach, California

 
Variable Gang City: Asheville, North Carolina

 
Regional Variations in Gang Presence

 
Explaining the Emergence, Persistence, and Decline of Gang Activity

 
Factors affecting the Emergence of Gangs in New Cities

 
Factors affecting the Persistence of Gang Activity in Cities

 
Factors affecting the Decline of Gang Activity in Cities

 
 
Chapter 8: Urban Gangs and Violence
Introduction

 
The Intensity of Gangs in Cities

 
Patterns and Trends in the Number of Active Gangs in Cities

 
Patterns and Trends in the Number of Gang Members in Cities

 
Serious Gang Problem Trends

 
Gang-Related Homicides and Serious Gang Activity

 
Regional Variation in Gang-Related Homicide Trends

 
A Snapshot of Gang Homicide in the Largest Cities

 
Case Studies of Gang Problems in Large Cities

 
Contextual Characteristics That Contribute to Serious Gang Problems

 
City Characteristics

 
Availability of Crime Facilitators

 
Drug-Related Factors

 
Features of Gangs That Contribute to Serious Gang Problems

 
Number of Gangs

 
Number of Gang Members

 
Gang Structure & Conflicts

 
Prison Gangs

 
Transnational Gangs as a Version of Street Gangs

 
Violent Hot Spots and Gang Set Space

 
Group Process

 
Code of the Street

 
 
Chapter 9: What Works: Gang Prevention
Introduction

 
Gang Intervention: Risk-Focused, Data-Driven, and Research-Based Gang Prevention

 
Community Assessments

 
Starter Gangs

 
Bullying

 
A Framework for Prevention and Early Intervention

 
Strategies for Delinquency and Gang Intervention and Prevention

 
Building a Continuum of Effective Delinquency Prevention and Early Intervention Programs

 
Child Exposure to Violence and Community Safety

 
 
Chapter 10: What Works In A Comprehensive Gang Program Approach
Introduction

 
The Comprehensive, Communitywide Gang Program Model

 
Comprehensive Gang Program Model Administrative Structure

 
Implementing the Comprehensive Gang Program Model

 
Evidence-Based Gang Programs

 
Evidence-Based Gang Prevention Programs

 
Evidence-Based Gang Intervention Programs

 
Gang Suppression

 
The Evidence-Based Comprehensive Gang Program Model

 
The Six-Site Comprehensive Gang Program Model Evaluation

 
Compatibility of the Comprehensive Gang Program Model and Operation Ceasefire

 
On the Horizon

 

Supplements

Student Study Site

The open-access Student Study Site includes the following:

  • EXCLUSIVE! Access to certain full-text SAGE journal articles that have been carefully selected for each chapter. Each article supports and expands on the concepts presented in the chapter. This feature also provides questions to focus and guide student interpretation. Combine cutting-edge academic journal scholarship with the topics in your course for a robust classroom experience.
  • Multimedia content includes video, audio, and web resources that appeal to students with different learning styles.
Instructor Resource site
The password-protected Instructor Site supports your teaching by making it easy to integrate quality content and create a rich learning environment for students.
  • Test banks provide a diverse range of pre-written options as well as the opportunity to edit any question and/or insert your own personalized questions to effectively assess students’ progress and understanding.

Excellent and thorough discussion of gangs and gang behavior.

Professor Michael Proctor
Arts and Sciences, Texas A & M
January 6, 2015

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 5

Chapter 8


Preview this book

James C. Howell

Dr. James C. (Buddy) Howell is a Senior Research Associate with the National Gang Center, in Tallahassee, Florida, where he has worked for over twenty years. He formerly worked at the U.S. Department of Justice for 23 years, mostly as director of research and program development in the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. He has published over 50 works on youth and street gangs, and a similar number on juvenile justice and delinquency prevention, and seven books on both topics. His gang publication topics include street gang history; gang homicides; drug trafficking; gangs in schools; hybrid gangs; myths about gangs; risk... More About Author

Elizabeth A. Griffiths

Dr. Elizabeth Griffiths is an Associate Professor in the School of Criminal Justice at Rutgers University-Newark. After completing her Ph.D. in Sociology at the University of Toronto, she joined the faculty of the Department of Sociology at Emory University before moving to Rutgers in 2011. She is also a former predoctoral fellow of the National Consortium on Violence Research and a former Junior Fellow of the Centre of Criminology at the University of Toronto. Her research spans multiple substantive and methodological areas, including communities and crime, spatial diffusion of violence, temporal trends in homicide, the emergence of gangs... More About Author

Also available as a South Asia Edition.

Purchasing options

Please select a format:

ISBN: 9781483379722
$64.00 

SAGE Knowledge is the ultimate social sciences digital library for students, researchers, and faculty. Hosting more than 4,400 titles, it includes an expansive range of SAGE eBook and eReference content, including scholarly monographs, reference works, handbooks, series, professional development titles, and more.

The platform allows researchers to cross-search and seamlessly access a wide breadth of must-have SAGE book and reference content from one source.