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NCJ Number: 186504 Find in a Library
Title: Addressing Key Features of Gang Membership: Measuring the Involvement of Young Members
Journal: Journal of Criminal Justice  Volume:28  Issue:6  Dated:November/December 2000  Pages:473-482
Author(s): Scott H. Decker; G. David Curry
Editor(s): Kent B. Joscelyn
Date Published: 2000
Page Count: 10
Type: Survey
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study explored four dimensions of gang membership--joining the gang, processes involved in gang life, organizational characteristics of the gang, and family characteristics--based on interviews with adolescents in St. Louis, Missouri.
Abstract: Data were collected from school-based interviews at three middle schools and two alternative education centers during the spring and summer of 1997. From 533 completed interviews, a sample of 96 students who identified themselves as current, former, or associate gang members was selected. Each of the 96 students was interviewed individually, and the interviews allowed the collection of both quantitative and qualitative data on reasons for joining gangs. Results showed gang membership appeared to be transient. Few differences were noted between current, former, or associate gang members. In addition, substantial differences related to gang leaders and rules did not exist between younger and older gang members, and gangs did not seem to be well-organized in that they had a weak hold on members. Implications of the results for prevention and intervention among young gang members are discussed, and the authors suggest gang interventions may be more successful if they target adolescents as individuals rather than as gang members. 35 references, 1 note, and 4 tables
Main Term(s): Juvenile/Youth Gangs
Index Term(s): Gang Prevention; Juvenile delinquency prevention; Missouri; Students; Urban area studies
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