Gangs have been portrayed in media, both in films, such as The Untouchables, and on television, such as NYPD Blue and The Wire. The most detailed study of gang life in the US was conducted by sociologists at the University of Chicago in the 1940s-60s, which resulted in their best known book, Gang Membership, by Melville Henry Ballou. Historians have also written about gangs, such as Charles Dickens in his publication Oliver Twist. These authors have discussed gangs in Europe, Latin America, and Africa as well as North America. There are criticisms of Gang Membership that the research was conducted in the 1940s-60s. The problems of issues such as recruitment, retention, and the effect of crime on gangs are seen as being inadequately addressed at the time. Issues such as the role of organized crime, law enforcement, and prevention were not on the agenda of those doing the research. They instead focused on research questions regarding gang structure, friendship networks, group dynamics, and other topics.
This is an important aspect of the study of street gangs, as they continue to be the greatest threat to public safety in many cities, resulting in the frequent use of media harmony in situations where police are unable to engage the gang members. High-risk youth are also often involved, and thus developing a knowledge of how they are organized is important for managing their development of criminal activity. Even if they do not develop into a full-fledged criminal, they are often the impetus for further criminal activity.
Seven: informal networks of people engaged in criminal activity, which may include a central gang or group of gangs, or may be formed independently from organized crime groups. (Gang members share a common purpose and identity but have separate identities and lifestyles.)
One: organization of youths, usually in the context of criminal activity, with a common purpose and identity. (Gang members may be referred to as a clique, crew, gang, or posse.) 827ec27edc