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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 149099 Find in a Library
Title: Gang Membership and Juvenile Misconduct
Journal: American Sociological Review  Volume:15  Dated:(December 1950)  Pages:744-752
Author(s): W M Wattenberg; J Balistrieri
Date Published: 1950
Page Count: 9
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Following a review of the literature on juvenile gangs and their causes, this article presents the methodology and findings of a study of the influence of familial and socioeconomic factors on gang and nongang members "interviewed on complaint" by Detroit police officers in 1946 and 1947.
Abstract: Based on findings from previous studies, the current study hypothesized that gang members would come from homes with weak parental supervision or discipline and live in neighborhoods with a high delinquency rate or its concomitants. To test the hypothesis, information was obtained from the records of 5,878 boys between the ages of 10 and 16 about whom Detroit police had received complaints in 1946 and 1947. The boys' homes had been visited by specially designated Crime Prevention Bureau officers, who interviewed the boys and completed a "history sheet." The sheet contained some 50 items on home conditions, neighborhood situations, and other matters of interest. Data from the sheets were coded and punched on computer cards so as to be available for statistical manipulation. Among the facts recorded for each boy was whether or not he was a member of a neighborhood gang. Findings did not completely support the hypothesis. Boys who belonged to gangs differed from nongang boys in coming from "easy-going" homes and living in socioeconomically deprived neighborhoods. The non- gang boys tended to come from tense or controlling families. Recidivism by gang members was more likely to correlate with socioeconomic indices; for nongang boys, recidivism correlated with family indices. The implications of these findings for gang theory development are discussed. 3 tables
Main Term(s): Juvenile/Youth Gangs
Index Term(s): Juvenile delinquency factors; Juvenile delinquent family relations; Peer influences on behavior; Socioeconomic causes of delinquency
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