- Series Information
- The Oxford Handbook of Organized Crime
- List of Contributors
- Organized Crime: A Contested Concept
- Theoretical Perspectives on Organized Crime
- Searching for Organized Crime in History
- How to Research Organized Crime
- The Italian Mafia
- The Italian-American Mafia
- the Russian Mafia: Rise and Extinction
- Organized Crime in Colombia: The Actors Running the Illegal Drug Industry
- Mexican Drug “Cartels”
- Chinese Organized Crime
- The Japanese Yakuza
- Nigerian Criminal Organizations
- Gangs Another Form of Organized Crime?
- Opportunistic Structures of Organized Crime
- Organizing Crime: The State as Agent
- The Social Embeddedness of Organized Crime
- Protection and Extortion
- Drug Markets and Organized Crime
- Human Smuggling, Human Trafficking, and Exploitation in the Sex Industry
- Illegal Gambling
- Money Laundering
- Arms Trafficking
- Organized Fraud
- The Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources
- Organized Crime Control in the United States of America
- U.S. Organized Crime Control Policies Exported Abroad
- European Union Organized Crime Control Policies
- The Fight Against the Italian Mafia
- Organized Crime Control in Australia and New Zealand
- Organized Crime “Control” in Asia: Experiences from India, China, and the Golden Triangle
- Finance-Oriented Strategies of Organized Crime Control
Abstract and Keywords
This essay places gangs in the broader context of organized criminal groups, including transnational organized crime, drug smuggling networks, human trafficking operations, and terrorist groups. In doing so, it assesses the similarities and differences in the organizational and structure features of gangs in relation to other criminal groups. Based on the authors’ review, they arrive at two conclusions. First, gangs make unattractive partners for organized criminal groups because of their informal and diffuse organizational structure, public and street-oriented exposure, and expressive and cafeteria-style rather than instrumental and specialized offending patterns. Second, it is inappropriate to conclude, due to their limited organizational structure, that gangs are an association of criminals as opposed to a criminal association. While gangs exert little control over their members and lack the coordination that characterizes other groups, group processes found within gangs make them a durable component of urban life.
Scott H. Decker is Foundation Professor in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Arizona State University. His main research interests are in the areas of gangs, violence, criminal justice policy, and the offender’s perspective.
David C. Pyrooz, Department of Sociology, University of Colorado Boulder
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