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Criminology Lecture Notes3

Economic status urbanization sparse local friendship

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economic status, urbanization . Sparse local friendship networks (due to high residential mobility), unsupervised teenage peer groups (single parenthood), low organizational participation (don’t join churches or other groups) . Crime and delinquency . Conditions indicate Low social control – people do whatever they want . Gang is an interstitial group in that it fills gaps within a social structure (there are no churches, no families, etc.) . Serve as substitutes for families, schools, church, clubs . People need a source of excitement, which is not provided by these social structures – thus kids join gangs to fill the void in the social structure . “Being in a gang means if I didn’t have no family, I’ll think that’s where I’ll be …it’s community help without all the community” – gang takes the place of all the things he lacks in his life (family, clubs, etc.) . “The gang is not a group organized to commit delinquent acts” – gangs DO commit a substantial amount of crime . Klein . 3 elements to defining a gang: . “Generally perceived as a distinct aggregation by others in their neighborhood” . People perceive them as gangs, but at the same time, perceptions of public can be inaccurate, thus you must include the other two too . “recognize themselves as a denotable group (almost invariable with a group name” . Members themselves should call them a gang
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. “have been involved in a sufficient number of delinquent incidents to call forth a constituent negative response from neighborhood residents and/or law enforcement agencies . Thrasher . “An interstitial group originally formed spontaneously and then integrated through conflict” . GANGS ARE ALL ABOUT CONFLICT . Main activity is conflict . Boys are always part of conflict . Audiences usually encourage fights, rally behind one of the contending parties . Status only exists in the eyes of other people, thus when there is an audience, higher desire to gain status . Conflict becomes all the worse in these settings because no one is there/willing to put a cap on the conflict because there is no social control (socially disorganized context) . Escalates to violent crime and gang violence . In a socially disorganized context, there are no capable guardians to restrain this type of behavior . As violence escalates, groups form – not simply to provide friends to hang out with, but rather members can provide one another with mutual protection . In that mutual protection, see the beginning of a gang . Based on violence and conflict . THREAT “The potential for transgression against or physical harm to the gang represented by the acts or presence of a rival group” . Threat is necessary for a gang to exist – gangs exist to threaten other groups and to respond to threats of other groups . Mythic Violence “Discussions of violent activities between gangs that reinforce the ties of membership and maintain boundaries between neighborhood gangs and those in ‘rival’ neighborhoods” (Decker 1996) .
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