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Gangs and Social Behavior
Transcript of Gangs and Social Behavior
Early Forms of Gangs
Gangs were developed due to class distinction, social bias and racism.
This helped to cultivate the “us versus them” attitude.
“The end result was that the targeted group of people developed dislike, distrust and hatred towards the other group”
“The breeding group for all gangs begins with an excluded group, who feel victimized by poverty, or the establishment, or some other time of injustice, whether real or imagined. It is fed by an anti-establishment culture of drugs, crime, hate, and racial separatism”. (Valdemar, 1996)
Modern Day Gangs
The famous Zoot Suit wars took place between the Mexican street gangs and those in the military
The first prison gangs were developed
“The New York City Youth Board reported that there were approximately 6000 female gangs members in the area”
“A group with an organized leader;
a group whose members
show unity through clothing,
language, and a group whose
activities are criminal or threatening
to society” (Valdez, 2011).
The First Gangs
Formed after the revolutionary
war in 1793
The Smiths Vly Gang
The Bowery Boys
The Broadway Boys
African American gangs:
Long Bridge Boys
Modern Day Gangs (cont'd)
“Even with the high level of gang violence and massive criminal justice response, only 197 cities nationally reported the presence of street gangs” (Klein, 1995)
Gangs were now found in every state [in the military, law enforcement, private businesses] (Valdez, 2010).
Gang culture was fully developed through media
Music, film, print media, video and the Internet
Hierarchy of Gangs
450 active gangs in the City of Los Angeles
Many of these gangs have been in existence for over 50 years.
16,398 verified violent gang crimes
491 homicides, 7,047 felony assaults
5,518 robberies, 98 rapes
Gangs act differently in different parts of the country, and are influenced by their environment and culture as they develop their own style, conduct, and structure.
Los Angeles street gangs evolved on the Hispanic or “Mexican Model.” They are much more democratic, where every member has an equal vote.
Sub-groups/Cliques- Each has its own leader. The typical LA street gang is a coalition of cliques working together as a unit. If a clique in destroyed, or a leader becomes incarcerated, another member will just fill that void.
Having few lines of command makes it very difficult to effectively impact the hierarchy of these street gangs.
Structure is similar to an Aztec pyramid: broad base of foot soldiers and new inductees and narrowing toward the top.
The “narrowing” occurs due to member attrition through desertion, death and prison.
Structure of Los Angeles Gangs
Mara Salvatrucha-13 (aka MS-13)
Motto: “Mata, Controla, Viola” (Kill, Control, Rape)
Lack an overt, formalized hierarchy. Power is based on a “hierarchy of influence”“ and "hierarchy of respect”
2 Primary Leaders- “First Word” (Primera Palabra) and “Second Word” (Segunda Palabra)
Treasurer- Collects the taxes (the gang’s cut out of a range of criminal enterprises and activities)
LA MS-13 Leader- Serves as a liaison to the Mexican Mafia (Eme)
Eme Representative- Ensures MS-13 pays taxes to Eme, disciplines members, conducts meetings between cliques, coordinates business transactions.
Aggression and Gangs
Some Questions to consider:
How is the aspect of aggression associated with
What is aggression
and how does it lead
to gang violence?
Is aggressive behavior a product of gang violence or are naturally aggressive people more likely to join gangs?
Definition of Aggression
Aggression as defined by Aronson (2012), from a social psychological point of view, "is intentional behavior that is targeted towards someone to cause intentional harm or pain towards someone else."
When considering aggression, intent is instrumental as it the driving force behind most aggressive acts that are committed.
Two Types of Aggression
"Hostile aggression is driven by anger, in which the ultimate goal and purpose is to inflict pain or to injure," (Aronson, 2012).
"Instrumental aggression has an intent beyond inflicting pain or hurting someone else. This type of aggression is used to get a goal beyond inflicting pain on someone else," (Aronson, 2012).
Both types of aggression within gangs are evident and can be the cause for adolescents being and staying involved with gangs.
Dynamics of Gang Membership
Alleyne and Wood suggests, gang membership has a lot to do with status and acceptance (2010).
Gang Members are more likely to go against authority. This is one predictor for the types of people who are involved in gang violence (Vasquez, Lickel, Hennigan, 2013).
Gang violence and aggression towards others begin to increase as displaced aggression (such as abuse) becomes more prevalent throughout a persons life (Vasquez, Lickel, Hennigan, 2013).
Do Aggressive people join gangs or do gangs produce aggressive people?
Its both. Angry people begin to act aggressively as a means to resolve internal and external dilemmas in order to gain acceptance.
Hostile aggression is used as a result of anger from the environment, familial experiences, and abuse in which adolescents are exposed to.
Instrumental aggression comes in as a result of being involved in a gang.
Gang violence perpetuates already engrained aggressive behavior.
Alleyne, E., & Wood, J. L. (2010). Gang involvement: Psychological and behavioral characteristics of gang members, peripheral youth, and nongang youth. Aggressive Behavior, 36(6), 423-436. doi:10.1002/ab.2036
Bjerredgaard, B., (2010). Gang membership and drug involvement: Untangling the complex relationship. Crime & Delinquency. 56(1), 3-34. doi: 10.1177/0011128707307217
De La Rue, L., & Espelage, D. L. (2014). Family and Abuse Characteristics of Gang- Involved, Pressured-to-Join, and Non–Gang-Involved Girls. Psychology Of Violence, doi: 10.1037/a0035492
Gangs. Retrieved from http://www.lapdonline.org/get_informed/content_basic_view/24435
Gangs 101. (n.d.). Gangs 101. Retrieved June 12, 2014, from http://www.lincolnnet.net/users/lrttrapp/http/block/gangs101.htm
Klein, M.W. (1995) The American Street Gang. New York, New York: Oxford University Press.
A gang injunction is a restraining order against a group. It is a civil suit that seeks a court order declaring the gang’s public behavior a nuisance and asking for special rules directed toward its activity.
45 active injunctions in the city involving 72 gangs.
Senior members- At the top of the pyramid, but do not have authority to command anything. They are called “Veteranos” in a Hispanic street gang.
Businesses/ Criminal Activities
Drug distribution, extortion, prostitution rings, robbery, theft, human trafficking, and acting as sicaritos (assassins for hire) for transnational drug cartels.
The Bloody Triangle
The informal network of influence and criminal circuit between LA, Northern Virginia (NoVa), and El Salvador.
The communities interact via social media and phone.
• Loosely translated as street-smart Salvadoran group.
• Formed on the street of LA Rampart and Pico-Union barrios in the 1980’s by immigrants fleeing civil war in El Salvador.
• Originally started as a turf-oriented street gang, emphasizing friendship and partying. Soon evolved into a brutal, transnational criminal organization.
Low, S., & Espelage, D. (2014). Conduits from community violence exposure to peer aggression and victimization: Contributions of parental monitoring, impulsivity, and deviancy. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 61(2), 221-231. doi:10.1037/a0035207
McDonald, R., & Merrick, M. T. (2013). “Above all things, be glad and young”: Advancing research on violence in adolescence. Psychology Of Violence, 3(4), 289-296. doi:10.1037/a0034275
Osman, K. (1992). Gangs. San Diego, CA: Lucent Books.
Vasquez, E. A., Lickel, B., & Hennigan, K. (2013). Applying socio-psychological models to understanding displaced and group-based aggression in street gangs. In J. L. Wood, T. A. Gannon (Eds.) , Crime and crime reduction: The importance of group processes (pp. 56-74). New York, NY, US: Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group.
Wolf, Sonja. 2010. “Maras transnacionales: Origins and transformation of central american street gangs,” Latin American Research Review, 45(1)
(Vasquez, Lickel, Hennigan, 2013)