The History of Street Gangs in the United States
Their Origins and Transformations
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The author's historical analysis reveals the key contributing factors to transformation of youth gangs, including social disorganization that occurred following large-scale immigration early in American history and urban policies that pushed minorities to inner city areas and public housing projects. This analysis includes the influence of prison gangs on street gangs. The first generation of prison gangs emerged spontaneously in response to dangers inside prisons. The second generation was for many years extensions of street gangs that grew enormously during the 1980s and 1990s, particularly in large urban areas in which public housing projects have served as incubators for street gangs. The third generation of prison gangs is extremely active in street-level criminal enterprises in varied forms, often highly structured and well managed organizations that are actively involved in drug trafficking. In recent years, returning inmates are a predominant influence on local gang violence. Now, prison gangs and street gangs often work together in street-level criminal enterprises.
This book identifies the most promising ways that gang violence can be reduced. The best long-term approach is a combination of gang prevention, intervention, and suppression strategies and programs. Targeted suppression of gang violence is imperative. Street-workers that serve as violence interrupters can break the cycle of contagious gang violence.