Abstract and Keywords
Streets gangs are a form of delinquent peer group. This article begins with describing the characteristics that distinguish gangs from other social groups. It draws from both law enforcement and research studies, relying primarily on information produced in the past two decades to discuss different approaches to defining gangs, including the conceptual and methodological difficulties of measuring gang membership and gang crime and delinquency. It also gives a brief history of gangs; further describing gang prevalence, joining, and group processes. Following this, it focuses on trends in gang crime, the individual offending patterns of gang members, and what is known about differential crime patterns in various types of gangs. It concludes with a discussion of current approaches to gang prevention, intervention, and control.
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