Additionally, the police, courts, and rival gangs may not be aware that a person has quit the gang and, therefore, continue to treat them as if they were still members. Most, however, age out and are allowed to leave without violence or harm.Next slide.Slide 13Gangs and Gang Delinquency, continuedFar from being disorganized, leaderless mobs engage in wanton acts of delinquency, some gangs are highly organizedwith defined roles and clearly established lines of authority. For instance, the Vice Lordswas a highly organized gang in Chicagoduring the 1960s. The gang consisted of various subgroups who had representatives that attended weekly meetings. An administrative board was created to handle issues that affected the entire Vice Lord Nation. In terms of leadership, most gangs have an established leader
and an organizational structure that follows the chain-of-command system that is used in the military. Some gangs instead are led by charismatic leaders who lead by force and intimidation. They tend to be the strongest, older, and most respected members of the gang. Turfrefers to territoriality and involves identification and control. Most gangs identify with a certain neighborhood, park, or school. Boundaries to a gang’s territory are frequently marked by graffiti intended to announce their territory to rival gangs and to threaten some form of retaliation if the boundaries are crossed. Automobiles, however, have increased adolescents’ mobility and, as a consequence, blurred territorial lines. Identification with a particular territory has changed and now refers more to an area where a gang feels strong enough to feel secure and in control, not because the territory is necessarily central to their identity. It was once believed that gangs are tight-knit, cohesivegroups whose members are loyal to one another because they share common interests. While some criminologists still adhere to thisbelief, others do not. For example, Klein argues that gangs are not cohesive because they have few group goals, membership isalways changing, and group norms are nonexistent. Other researchers point out that gang members often fail at school, at work, and elsewhere, and that these failures fuel insecurity about their status in the gang. Others contend that gangs are loosely organized, at best, and are cohesive only when they are engaged in delinquency. It has often been assumed that gangs exist for the sole purposeof committing crime. However, purpose is difficult to measure because, as one author has noted, it is a state of mind and cannotbe observed. What can be observed is behavior and has led some researchers to examine the extent to which gangs commit crime. While saying little about purpose, Schneider found that gangs often specialize in certain offenses. Other researchers report that gangs spend most of their time “partying and hanging out,” and not involved in crime.