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NCJ Number: 137092 Find in a Library
Title: Metropolitan Gang Influence and the Emergence of Group Delinquency in a Regional Community
Journal: Journal of Criminal Justice  Volume:20  Issue:2  Dated:(1992)  Pages:93-106
Author(s): R G Zevitz; S R Takata
Date Published: 1992
Page Count: 14
Type: Research (Applied/Empirical)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Using interviews with gang members (23 delinquents affiliated with 4 different gangs) and delinquency control personnel, media reports, and agency case files, this study examines the gang phenomenon in Kenosha, Wisconsin and specifically addresses the question of whether gang activity in that town is an outgrowth of street gangs from nearby metropolitan Chicago.
Abstract: The findings underscored the difference between official and neighborhood youth perceptions of the emergence of gangs in Kenosha. The police, school, and social service officials believed that minority youth gangs were introduced into the town from Chicago ghetto neighborhoods. This interpretation ascribed a level of sophistication and organizational planning that was not supported by the qualitative or quantitative data used in this study. The alternative interpretation, put forth by the youth gang members themselves, was that the regional gangs were products of local factors, even though they had a cultural affinity with the metropolitan gangs. While the small-town gangs adopted some of the external trappings of the Chicago gangs, there was no structural similarity; the Kenosha gangs were loose-knit, while those in Chicago were better organized and cohesive. Blaming drug-dealing Chicago gang members for problems in Kenosha, including rising delinquency rates, drug abuse, and school disciplinary failings, was easier than seeking answers within the local community context. This experience is being repeated in many regional communities, where minority youth gangs are interpreted in the context of metropolitan gang connections. 2 tables, 4 notes, and 57 references (Author abstract modified)
Main Term(s): Juvenile/Youth Gangs; Rural urban comparisons
Index Term(s): Illinois; Juvenile delinquency in rural areas; Urban criminality; Wisconsin
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