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NCJ Number: 203321 Find in a Library
Title: Do Gangs Exist in Rural Areas and Small Cities: Perceptions of Law Enforcement Agencies
Journal: Journal of Gang Research  Volume:31  Issue:13  Dated:Fall 2003  Pages:13-31
Author(s): Satasha L. Green
Date Published: 2003
Page Count: 19
Type: Survey
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study compared youth activities and behavior in large urban areas and cities with the activities and behavior of youth in rural areas and small cities in south Texas, with attention to gang membership and gang-related activities.
Abstract: This study used Malcolm W. Klein's (1971) technical definition of a "gang" as "any (of adolescent and young adults) who are generally perceived as a distinct aggregation by others in their neighborhood, recognize themselves as a denotable group (almost invariably with a group name), and have been involved in a sufficient number of (illegal) incidents to call forth a consistent negative response from neighborhood residents and/or enforcement agencies." Data for this study came from a 1999 survey of law enforcement agencies regarding the existence of youth gangs and gang activities in south Texas. Important terms were defined in the questionnaire. Respondents included gang units from 21 rural and small city law enforcement agencies. The survey provided information on names of gangs, number of gang members, symbols of gangs, gang activities, ratings of the gang problems, and gang prevention tactics. Data on gangs in urban areas and large cities were obtained from the literature. The survey of law enforcement agencies in rural areas and small towns of South Texas found that gangs and gang-related activities do exist in their jurisdictions, and their activities are often delinquent and violent. There was no consensus in the data regarding the distinctive factors in rural and urban areas that promote gang membership and criminal gang behaviors. Still, gangs and gang activities in both urban and rural areas included gang names, colors, symbols, and activities. The gangs consisted of numerous racial, ethnic, sexual, age, and class subgroups. Implications of the findings are discussed. 8 tables and 66 references
Main Term(s): Gangs
Index Term(s): Juvenile gang behavior patterns; Juvenile/Youth Gangs; Rural area studies; Rural crime; Rural urban comparisons; Texas
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