Boys to Men: Comparing Juvenile and Adult Gang Activity Near Schools

Darcy J. Purvis, University of California, Irvine
James W. Meeker, University of California, Irvine

Media coverage and its overrepresentation of youth crime have fueled a general social fear of today's youth. Society seems to be most fearful of both gang violence and school violence. Policy makers and school officials have defined gang activity near schools more damaging as they have enhanced enforcement and policing, and they have enacted longer sentences and increased punishments. Police have indicated that schools present a high risk of gang activity because of the presence of large number of juveniles. Researcher, however, contend that the majority of gang activity is neither violent, nor committed by juveniles.

We will analyze gang activity in Orange County, California to determine whether gang activity is in fact primarily violent and whether primarily juveniles commit gang activity; and utilizing GIS/geograpnic analysis, we will determine whether the majority of gang activity is committed near schools. We will utilize data from the Gang Incident Tracking System (GITS), which consists of police report data from all twenty-two law enforcement agencies in Orange County, California from 1996 to 2000.

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Updated 05/20/2006