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Crack, Street Gangs, and Violence

NCJ Number
Criminology Volume: 29 Issue: 4 Dated: (November 1991) Pages: 623-650
Date Published
28 pages
Data extracted from the narcotics investigation files and homicide files of the Los Angeles Police Department and Sheriff's Department were used to investigate the relationships between street gangs, crack cocaine, and violence associated with the distribution of crack during the initial years of its proliferation.
Hypotheses were compared for 1983-1985, when crack emerged as a significant problem, regarding gang involvement in crack distribution and concomitants of gang involvement, particularly violence. The analyses showed a dramatic growth in crack sales and an accompanying increase in gang member involvement, followed by a declining rate of involvement and inconsistent evidence on the impact of gang involvement on crack distribution. The authors conclude that the world of crack in Los Angeles belonged principally to regular drug dealers, not to street gangs. This research needs to be duplicated in other cities with major gang problems. 6 tables, 1 figure, and 32 references (Author abstract modified)

Date Published: January 1, 1991