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Chasing After Street Gangs

A Forty-Year Journey

Malcolm Klein

Publication Date - November 2015

ISBN: 9780190215248

104 pages
5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches

In Stock

Part of Oxford University Press' Keynotes in Criminology and Criminal Justice Series, Chasing After Street Gangs: A Forty-Year Journey presents a concise introduction to the topic by a pioneer in the field


In this brief, accessible text, Malcolm Klein presents insights gained from his forty years of experience investigating street gangs. In Part I he reveals some of the dominant trends that have emerged over the course of his research, defining and describing gangs, their locations, who joins them, and the types of illegal behavior in which they engage. In Part II he delves into the conceptual contexts that help us to understand those trends, examining gangs in relation to other small groups, comparing gangs in the U.S. to those in Europe, and discussing approaches to gang control.

About the Series

Keynotes in Criminology and Criminal Justice provides essential knowledge on important contemporary matters of crime, law, and justice to a broad audience of readers. Volumes are written by leading scholars in that area. Concise, accessible, and affordable, these texts are designed to serve either as primers around which courses can be built or as supplemental books for a variety of courses.

About the Author(s)

Malcolm Klein is Professor Emeritus of Sociology at the University of Southern California.

Series Editor
Henry N. Pontell is a Distinguished Professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York.


"This book is classic Klein: engaging, thoughtful, and at times irreverent. If you are interested in gaining an appreciation for the current state of youth gang research and policy, I recommend this user-friendly monograph. Mac (as Klein is known) shares forty-plus years of scholarly research in a very readable format. For readers who have not had the pleasure of meeting Mac in person, this book will give you some insight into his humor along with his wisdom."--Finn-Aage Esbensen, University of Missouri-St. Louis

"This book reveals the remarkable career in gang research of Mac Klein. Told in his typically engaging style, he takes the reader on his journey through the twists and turns of charting what we know--and don't know--about street gangs in the U.S., and elsewhere. His work has had enduring impacts on our understanding of street gangs, and yet, as he shows in this book, there is still much to be learned."--Cheryl Maxson, University of California, Irvine

"Klein is the leading gang scholar--the gang guru. Chasing After Street Gangs summarizes his wealth of gang knowledge and is very clear on where we need to focus our energies in tackling the gang problem."--Melanie R. Nimmo, University of Winnipeg

Table of Contents

    Series Introduction
    About the Author
    Part I: Four Levels of Street Gang Information
    1. A review of Gang and Nongang Jurisdictions.
    Relationships of gang presence to city size and location; the overall prevalence of street gangs.
    2. Street Gangs and Other Groups, youth and adult.
    Street gangs defined; the difference between definers and descriptors of street gangs.
    3. Street Gang Members and Nongang Youth.
    Predictors of gang membership, prevalence of gang members in different communities, and the dangers of over-identifying gang members.
    4. Street Gang Crimes Defined.
    "Member-related," "motive-related," and "gang-furtherance" meanings of gang-related criminal acts.
    Part II: Three Contexts for Understanding Street Gangs
    5. Gang Processes and Structures, the largely ignored fact about street gangs.
    Group processes that make gangs qualitatively different from most other groups. Five street gang structures and their implications.
    6. Street Gangs Here and There.
    Gangs in Europe (The Eurogang Program) and the consequences for generic knowledge of street gangs.
    7. Approaches to Street Gang Control, from early prevention, through intervention, to outright suppression.
    Program implementation, success, and failure.
    8. Concluding Comments: The Next Ten Years.
    Selected Supplemental Readings

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