Gang structures and group processes

Malcolm W. Klein and Cheryl L. Maxson

in Street Gang Patterns and Policies

Published in print August 2006 | ISBN: 9780195163445
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199943340 | DOI:

Series: Studies in Crime and Public Policy

Gang structures and group processes

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This chapter describes in some detail research in developing a typology of gang structure and how the results can inform approaches to gang control. It starts by discussing why the understanding of the variety of gang structures is important and describes past attempts to develop typologies of street gangs. It notes in particular some problems with typologies of gangs by their criminal patterns. It discusses issues in the measurement of gang structure types and then provides data on the authors' own foray into this area, which is based on U.S. national surveys. The discussion then turns to some problems presented by the transformations of gang structures over time and presents some cautions about generalizing about the nature of street gangs from data limited to any one time period. The overall theme of this material is as simple as it has been widely ignored: to understand street gangs, one must appreciate both their common elements and their diversity.

Keywords: street gangs; gang structure; gang control; national surveys

Chapter.  17642 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social Theory

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