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Who Are the Gangsters?: An Examination of the Age, Race/Ethnicity, Sex, and Immigration Status of Self-Reported Gang Members in a Seven-City Study of American Youth

NCJ Number
241526
Date Published
November 2012
Length
17 pages
Author(s)
Dena C. Carson, Finn-Aage Esbensen
Agencies
NIJ-Sponsored
Annotation
This article replicates Esbensen and Winfree’s research by examining the sex and racial/ethnic characteristics of self-reported gang members in a seven-city study.
Abstract
Fifteen years ago, Esbensen and Winfree published an article in which they challenged the stereotypical image of gang members, specifically with regard to race/ethnicity and sex. In the ensuing years, a number of other publications have reported findings similar to those reported by Esbensen and Winfree, especially with regard to the sex composition of American youth gangs. Studies from Europe have also reported gang member demographic characteristics similar to those reported in the United States. The current article replicates Esbensen and Winfree’s research by examining the sex and racial/ethnic characteristics of self-reported gang members in a seven-city study. In addition, the article explores these characteristics across 5 years of data, examining the extent to which gang member demographics remain constant as youth age. Furthermore, given the attention to immigration, the article also assesses the extent to which gang membership is linked to immigration status. More important, the article also explores the extent to which offending rates vary by these demographic characteristics of the gang and nongang youth. Abstract published by arrangement with Sage Journals.
Date Created: October 31, 2012