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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 156721 Find in a Library
Title: Patterns of Gang Activity in a Border Community
Journal: Journal of Gang Research  Volume:2  Issue:4  Dated:(Summer 1995)  Pages:31-43
Author(s): W B Sanders; S F Rodriguez
Date Published: 1995
Page Count: 13
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article presents the methodology and findings of a quantitative descriptive analysis of gang activity in a Mexican- American border community.
Abstract: The study site was an American border city of just under 600,000 in the southwestern United States, adjacent to a Mexican city of 1,200,000, making the greater metropolitan area close to 2 million people. The majority of the city's population was Mexican-American. The median family income was $22,644, the fifth lowest in the United States. Data on gang activities were obtained from police department records. All 653 incidents referred to the gang unit between January and June 1993 were coded. A total of 107 gangs were identified. After eliminating gangs identified in less than four incidents, only 21 gangs remained for this study. The data analysis focused on temporal patterns of gang activities, patterns of gang offenses, offender characteristics, and gang targets. Regarding temporal patterns of gang activity, the findings show that for the months analyzed, there was no more than a 10-percent difference in the number of incidents between months. Regarding gang offenses, the bulk were found in the broad categories of assault-robbery-threat (45.6 percent) and criminal mischief (46.1 percent). Almost half of gang-related offenses were violent. In 37.8 percent of the incidents, some type of gun was used. Half of the gang offenders were juveniles and half were adults; almost all of the suspects were Hispanic, reflecting the composition of the community. There were few females involved. One of the most interesting findings was that the modal number of suspects in a gang-related incident was one; this may mean that only one gang member was identified by the victim or witnesses or that one gang member committed the offense while other gang members were present but were not involved in the offense. Most of the victims of gang offenses were Anglo-American adults. 15 tables and 15 references
Main Term(s): Juvenile/Youth Gangs
Index Term(s): Hispanic Americans; Juvenile gang behavior patterns; Juvenile statistics
Note: *This document is currently unavailable from NCJRS. This is a revised version of a paper presented at the Southwest Social Science meetings, San Antonio, Tex., April 1994.
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