Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Today's offenders are tomorrow's victims in gangs

Date:
May 7, 2014
Source:
Sam Houston State University
Summary:
Gang members are twice as likely to become both a victim and an offender of a crime than non-gang members, as single acts of violence often lead to retribution between gangs as a whole, according to a new study. "In other words, gang members are not distinctly offenders or victims; instead, gang membership is a common source of both forms of violence," said the study's lead author.

Gang members are twice as likely to become both a victim and an offender of a crime than non-gang members, as single acts of violence often lead to retribution between gangs as a whole, according to a new study.

"In other words, gang members are not distinctly offenders or victims; instead, gang membership is a common source of both forms of violence," said David Pyrooz, an assistant professor at Sam Houston State University, College of Criminal Justice and principal author of the study. "Today's criminal offender is tomorrow's victim, and today's victim is quite likely to be tomorrow's criminal offender."

The study, co-authored by Richard K. Moule Jr. and Scott H. Decker of Arizona State University, found that gang membership is a large risk factor for becoming both a victim and an offender. Gangs widen the pool for its members to be involved in both sides of crime through a shared history of collective identity; unconventional ways to earn status in a gang; involvement in criminal activity and norms of retaliation; and shared liability for being affiliated with a gang.

"Violence begets violence," said Pyrooz. "The motto, 'we are all in this together,' extends to offending and victimization."

The study was based on interviews with 621 youth and young adults from five cities, including Cleveland, OH; Fresno, CA; Los Angeles, CA; Phoenix, AZ; and St. Louis, MO. It was funded in part by Google Ideas, a think/do tank that explores the role that technology can play in tackling human challenges, such as violent extremism, illicit networks and fragile states.

While criminology research has found a common overlap between victims and offenders involved with crime, gang members do not fit traditional theories. One generally accepted theory focuses on the characteristics of the individual, including such biological or psychological factors as impulsivity, intelligence or risk-seeking, which continually put people in bad situations, leading to crimes or victimization. The second theory emphasizes a "contagion" between offending and victimization -- that is, engaging in criminal behavior puts someone at risk for victimization, while victimization puts someone at risk for committing a crime.

In contrast, it is the group process that puts gang members at the cross hairs of offending and victimization. At any given time, 2 percent of youth and young adults in the U.S. are in gangs. In major cities, homicide rates for gang members are 100 times higher than that of the general public.

"It is not that gangs aren't comprised of impulsive youth who live high-risk lifestyles, but that gangs are equipped with a collection of group processes and 'manpower' that better facilitate trading places as victim and offender," Pyrooz said.

To address this issue, Pyrooz and his colleagues suggest several strategies that focus on both victims and offenders. For example, in Ceasefire Chicago, the program uses former gang members as "violence interrupters" to identify and intervene in gang-related conflicts to prevent retaliatory shootings. Law enforcement strategies that target all members of the gang, instead of an individual's behavior, also have proven effective. Interventions should not just target the triggerman and his accomplices, but also the victim and his accomplices.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Sam Houston State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. D. C. Pyrooz, R. K. Moule, S. H. Decker. The Contribution of Gang Membership to the Victim-Offender Overlap. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 2013; 51 (3): 315 DOI: 10.1177/0022427813516128

Cite This Page:

Sam Houston State University. "Today's offenders are tomorrow's victims in gangs." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 May 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140507100429.htm>.
Sam Houston State University. (2014, May 7). Today's offenders are tomorrow's victims in gangs. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140507100429.htm
Sam Houston State University. "Today's offenders are tomorrow's victims in gangs." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140507100429.htm (accessed September 20, 2014).

Share This



More Science & Society News

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Newsy (Sep. 20, 2014) Sierra Leone is locked down as aid workers and volunteers look for new cases of Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Cost of Ebola

The Cost of Ebola

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 18, 2014) As Sierra Leone prepares for a three-day "lockdown" in its latest bid to stem the spread of Ebola, Ciara Lee looks at the financial implications of fighting the largest ever outbreak of the disease. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.S. Food Makers Surpass Calorie-Cutting Pledge

U.S. Food Makers Surpass Calorie-Cutting Pledge

Newsy (Sep. 18, 2014) Sixteen large food and beverage companies in the United States that committed to cut calories in their products far surpassed their target. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stocks Hit All-Time High as Fed Holds Steady

Stocks Hit All-Time High as Fed Holds Steady

AP (Sep. 17, 2014) The Federal Reserve signaled Wednesday that it plans to keep a key interest rate at a record low because a broad range of U.S. economic measures remain subpar. Stocks hit an all-time high on the news. (Sept. 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins