Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: May 28, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963930 | Print ISBN: 9781412941655 | Online ISBN: 9781412963930| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Daniel Joseph Monti
Gangs composed of young persons, as distinct from organized criminal syndicates, arose in America by the mid-19th century and were a concern for city leaders from the time they first appeared. The first serious piece of research on the subject did not come until Frederic Thrasher's book The Gang was published in 1927. Since then, research on the subject has become quite prevalent. Though not easily summarized, there appears to be consensus on two points. First, gangs are far more likely to be found in “disorganized communities.” These would be places that have few, if any, homegrown institutions and groups to guide and constrain their residents, especially their young people, so they will behave in more “conventional” ways. A corollary of the disorganization hypothesis is that the people living in “disorganized communities” are likely to be members of a minority population, be overwhelmingly poor (or certainly not well-off), and have ...