Gangs evoke feelings of intimidation within communities and fascination within popular culture and are the focus of highly resource-intensive law enforcement initiatives, media attention, and research, as well as the subject of popular Hollywood drama and fiction. While gangs have certain common identifying features, a standard definition of a gang remains elusive, and membership is often nebulous. There is a consensus among scholars of gangs that a working definition should incorporate certain key elements to describe a gang. These specific elements include a name or identity; leadership; an identifying dress, colors, or symbols; a certain territory where the gang resides or hangs out; continuous association; and some type of organizational feature, with participation in criminal activity being the unifying theme associated with the existence of ...

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