The young do not know enough to be prudent, and therefore they attempt the impossible—and achieve it, generation after generation.

Pearl S.Buck

The topic of gangs has generated extensive literature and social action. Questions over both definitions and solutions typify gang research, policy, and intervention. Law enforcement efforts at containing gangs date back to colonial America. In turn, modern empirical research into gangs began in the late 1920s. Despite the longevity of gangs as a social problem, there is still ongoing debate concerning the composition of gangs, their behavioral dynamics, and the most effective gang reduction strategies.

This entry discusses the definitions of gangs, the factors that cause them, gang typology, and the dynamics of gang membership. This discussion is followed by an examination of the various types ...

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