An Urban Ethnography of Latino Street Gangs

This is an on-going urban ethnography which began as part of a sabbatical leave from California State University Northridge in June of 1996, focusing on Latino street gangs in Los Angeles and Ventura counties. Currently as of October 1999 it has expanded to Albuquerque and Phoenix hoping to find solutions, to share an ever expanding body of data and literature on Latino street gangs, and to locate successful strategies for prevention and intervention with at-risk youths.

The interviewing process continues although over 1200 young people both gang-affiliated and non-gang affiliated from the same socio-economic areas between the ages of 14 to 24 have already been interviewed so far. The interview examines their early school experiences between Kindergarten and 6th grade. It also inquires about their relationship with parents, why they dropped out of school (if they have), and why they think youths join gangs.

Another objective of this research is to discover turning points where intervention might prove useful. Are there crisis periods at which family members, sociologists, criminologists, law enforcement, and educators might step in? Patterns have emerged in the current study. Sadly, much of the problem points to a parenting crisis.


Dr. Francine Hallcom

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