Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: November 23, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412959193 | Print ISBN: 9781412959186 | Online ISBN: 9781412959193| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Klein, Malcolm W., and Cheryl L. Maxson: Street Gang Structure and Organization
Arlen Egley Jr.
Arguably, there is no topic in criminology as saturated with stereotypes and misinformation in the general public as the subject of gangs and gang activity. Gangs are frequently characterized in media reports as highly structured, hierarchically organized, tightly cohesive groups of individuals that overwhelm our neighborhoods and cities with drugs and violence. Rarely do these reports challenge boilerplate depictions of gangs. However, stereotypical portrayals are at considerable odds with research findings from nearly a century of academic study on gangs and gang activity. In the experienced view of two gang researchers, Cheryl L. Maxson and Malcolm W. Klein, “The public image of gangs has been almost totally unaffected by research carried out during the past century” (2002, p. 244). This entry provides an overview of a structural typology of gangs. Introduced by preeminent gang scholars Klein and Maxson, this typology illustrates (and explains) considerable diversity and variation across gangs, and ...