Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Today's Offenders are Tomorrow's Victims in Gangs

Gang of six, with one carrying a bat.

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.

Dr. David Pyrooz Dr. David Pyrooz“In other words, gang members are not distinctly offenders or victims; instead, gang membership is a common source of both forms of violence,” said Dr. 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 Drs. 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 Dr. Pyrooz. “The motto, ‘we are all in this together,’ extends to offending and victimization." . . . Read more . . .

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