The American Street Gang: Its Nature, Prevalence, and Control

By Malcolm W. Klein | Go to book overview
Save to active project


The American Street Gang reviews what has been known about gangs and updates that information into the 1990s. It covers reported changes in the structure and crime patterns of gangs, their age, ethnic and gender characteristics, and their spread into almost all corners of the nation. It also reviews and updates the situation in other countries to determine whether the American gang is unique.

This is not a textbook. The author has a number of things to say to the reader that are based on decades of research and personal experience and that contradict many popular and professional beliefs about street gangs. The early chapters spell out four issues that are major concerns in understanding the gang problem and then weave these four issues throughout the book.

The first is the issue of defining the gang, accomplished here by describing street gangs and separating them from other forms of gangs, such as skinheads, peer groups that occasionally engage in delinquency, drug distribution gangs, and motorcycle gangs. The author sees the street gangs as qualitatively different from these other groups, though still having many structural variations.

The second issue involves recent changes in gangs, including their violence and their spread to eight hundred towns and cities in the United States. Brand-new data are presented here for the first time.

The third issue is street gangs' involvement in drug distribution. The author comes down very hard on those who have equated gangs and drug sales. He presents his own data, along with the findings of other researchers, to provide a more balanced picture than is often portrayed in the media.

The fourth issue, ways of handling the gang problem, is equally controversial. The author reviews gang prevention and suppression programs and suggests that most have been either ineffectual or actually have made matters worse. Practitioners will not like the message here but would do well to consider the author's conclusions.

The American gang situation is worsening, and our response is not improving. The author's thoughts on this situation will stir some strong reactions.


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The American Street Gang: Its Nature, Prevalence, and Control


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 270

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?