Catherine E. Burton & Daniel P. Stevens
Latino gang is a broad term that can apply to groups that have ties to Cuba, Colombia, South America, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic. Some of these gangs have become a major problem for law enforcement in the United States. The gangs participate in a wide range of criminal activity, including assault, auto theft, robbery, drug trafficking, and homicide. Latino gangs often have distinct ways of dressing (or displaying colors) and communicating (with symbols, graffiti, and tattoos); observe a strict code of silence when dealing with law enforcement; and have an inter-generational membership. The Latino gang culture exemplifies male machismo. Although women often play secondary roles, there are a few gangs in which women take a more prominent role. Latino gangs are quite effective at defending their geographical territories by using violence that is quite frequently lethal. The entry provides an overview of several Latino gangs that pose ...