Gangs were a target of widespread political and social attention during the 1990s, and despite a short-lived lull in policy focus, gangs are recently receiving increased attention from policymakers. In spite of political concern about gangs, very little research had examined perceptions of gangs. By conducting face-to-face interviews with thirty of thirty-five county prosecutors, this study was among the first to examine prosecutors' perspectives of gangs in Gainesville, Florida, an area that could be considered an "emerging" gang city. Themes from the interviews were extracted and included prosecutorial perceptions of the: (1) definition and prevalence of gangs in Gainesville, Florida; (2) personal and social characteristics of gang members; (3) reasons people join gangs; and (4) best approaches to stop or eliminate gangs. The ways in which prosecutors' perspectives mirror prior research on gangs is highlighted.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Psychology
- Applied Psychology
- Sociology and Political Science