Residential Networks Among Adult Male Gang Members

Mark S. Fleisher, Illinois State University
Jessie Krienert, Illinois State University

This study's objective was to identify the social and economic factors influencing adult male gang member residential mobility. Three research questions were proposed: which variables best describe residential mobility? are there discernible patterns in gang members' residential mobility? and, what social contextual factors influence gang members' residential mobility? A two-phase panel design gathered semi-structured interview data from adolescent and adult males (n=59) who reported affiliation with gangs, such as the Vice Lords, Gangster Disciples, and Black P-Stones. A criteria-based sampling design ensured a representation of male gang members who would most likely be highly mobile. Semi-structured interviews were also conducted with a woman (wife, girlfriend, relative) nominated by each gang member as a person who would most likely know his residential location. Research findings show that residential mobility has a clear aggregate pattern among men who are active street criminals. Data show that young (teenage to mid-twenties) male and adult and middle-age gang members have measurably different residential mobility patterns. Women, most often with gang affiliations, have a key instrument role in male residential mobility. As women achieve social and economic independence from their mother's household, which usually happens in their middle to late teens, these women feel entitled to control their households as their mothers did.

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Updated 05/20/2006