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Vietnamese Youth Gang Involvement

NCJ Number
Date Published
2 pages
This fact sheet summarizes findings from an Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention report, "Cultural Explanations for Vietnamese Youth Involvement in Street Gangs".
The city of Westminster in Orange County, California, has a population of 86,000. Approximately 25 percent are Asians, most are Vietnamese refugees. As much as 17 percent of all juvenile delinquency and 48 percent of all Asian delinquency in Westminster has been attributed to gang-involved Asian youth. The study characterized a youth as gang involved if he admitted to being involved in a gang or was identified as a gang member by a criminal justice agency. A second definition, called social centrality, classified a youth as gang involved if he identified at least one gang member among his peers who provided core social support. Focus groups composed of experts in Vietnamese culture and experts in youth gangs tested three cultural and five noncultural hypotheses using both definitions as dependent variables. Noncultural explanations were more predictive of gang involvement than cultural explanations. Two main factors that predicted Vietnamese youth gang involvement were pro-gang attitudes and exposure to gangs in the neighborhood.

Date Published: January 1, 2000