Gangs in the Hood: The Influence of Street Gangs on Fear of Crime

Cheryl L. Maxson, University of California, Irvine
Karen Hennigan, University of Southern California
David C. Sloane, University of Southern California

Fear of crime has received considerable attention by criminologists, but this literature rarely considers gang issues. Recent research suggests that the determinants of fear of gang crime differ form other forms of fear, but the topic of how gang presence in neighborhoods may influence levels of fear has not been examined. This presentation addresses this concern by reporting survey data from community residents in five neighborhoods, three of which were identified by police gang experts as active gang areas and two, although comparably economically distressed, as areas without substantial gang activity. Self-admnistered surveys and personal interviews were conducted with about 900 randomly sampled residents in these five neighborhoods in the winter of 2000. Analyses consider whether residents' perceptions of gang presence and intimidation in their neighborhoods predict to fear of crime. We also consider the relative contribution of gang factors as compared with other neighborhood indicators, such as disorder and social cohesion, as well as demographics and criminal victimization..

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Updated 05/20/2006