A BRIEF HISTORY OF STREET GANGS
Gangs are not a new phenomena. Daryl Gates, former Los Angeles
Chief of Police and Robert Jackson, Detective in the Gang
Information Section of the LAPD suggest that there is some quirk
about the nature of homo-sapiens that draws a few of them toward
gangs and their violence. They add that it makes little
difference whether the country is totalitarian or democratic,
whether the time is feudal or current (l989:4).
There is at least 50 years worth of gang literature in our local libraries. They operate in the same milieu in which they have always existed--the kinds of neighborhoods described here. Actually we have been aware of the gang problem, and to a lesser extent, the causes and perhaps even the solutions for quite some time. Other studies agree (Spergel 1992) (Spergel et. al. l993)
In l987 Joan Moore wrote that gang behavior stemmed primarily from normal adolescent concerns: the need for peer respect and approval, security and protection, group support and acceptance and age and sex role identification. Other investigators on the topic of gangs include Thrasher (l936) Torres (1980) Vigil (l988) Currry & Spergel (l988),Spergel (1990), and Akers (l992) to mention only some of the larger or more famous studies.
In l936 Thrasher conducted a classic sociological study of 1,313
gangs with approximately 25,000 members. In some ways not much has
changed from Thrasher's classic research definition: a group
originally formed spontaneously, and then integrated through
conflict. It is characterized by Thrasher as having the following
types of transactions: meeting face to face, milling around, and
finding conflict. Not much has changed. The result of this
collective behavior, according to the Thrasher research, is the
development of tradition, esprit de corps, solidarity, and
attachment to a local territory (1936:57).
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