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Untangling the Web of Violence: The Network Effects of Civil Gang Injunctions

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)
Original Solicitation

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2018, $120,208)

OJJDP's Field Initiated Research and Evaluation Program supports innovative and methodologically sound research and evaluation efforts that inform policy and practice consistent with OJJDP's mission to advance effective delinquency prevention and juvenile justice system interventions.

Civil gang injunctions (CGIs) impose significant behavioral restrictions on individuals (i.e., setting curfews, prohibiting free movement, and restricting social activity), in an effort to reduce social interactions that may lead to conflict. Yet, despite their use in cities across California and beyond, little is known about the effects that CGIs have on sanctioned groups. This study will examine how the web of violence changes at the local level, comparing pre- and post-injunction networks of violence for specific gangs, as well as the aggregate effect across a 20-year period using stochastic actor-oriented modeling. The researchers will investigate how the imposition of CGIs alters the tendency of gangs to direct serious violence at non-gang involved individuals and engage in new conflict, while controlling for historical effects and group characteristics. This will be the first study to test the dynamic and compound effects of CGIs on the social structure of serious violence affecting gang-involved youth. Starting with 72 enjoined gangs, the researchers will use a 2-step network generation process to map the social landscape of violence within which each group is enmeshed. This study advances crime prevention policy in three ways. First, by investigating inter-group violence involving juveniles, the researchers will document the dynamic and stable properties of street gang conflict, and stand to inform the future use of CGIs and reshape behavioral prohibitions so they are more tailored to the group (less emphasis on "one-size-fits all" and less detrimental to familial support networks). Second, by including all enjoined groups and others in conflict with them, the researchers will shed light on inter-gang violence involving understudied populations and ethnic conflict, and investigate how young people area embedded in networks of adult violence. Third, by uncovering how local gang violence ripples through a regional social network, the researchers will show where interagency cooperation and coordination spanning child welfare and the criminal justice system can improve case management and maximize the benefits of anti-gang efforts.

In addition to generating a unique, rich dataset, scholarly products, and practitioner-oriented materials, at the conclusion of this project, the investigators will host a colloquium to discuss the implications of this research with community partners. By facilitating an open dialogue about CGIs and possible alternatives, the research team seeks to weaken the web of violence and improve community safety.

Note: This project contains a research and/or development component, as defined in applicable law, and complies with Part 200 Uniform Requirements- 2 CFR 200.210(a)(14).


Date Created: September 29, 2017