Free «Classification of Gangs» Essay Sample

Classification of Gangs

Local gang types

Gangs vary according to structure, membership, age, and their ethnicity. However, investigators have identified three types of gangs namely; street gangs, outlaw motorcycle gangs and prison gangs.

Local street gangs

Street gangs operate in most parts of the country and form considerable threat to the citizens. They engage in criminal activities such as drug trafficking and violence. These vices pose a greatest threat to security of the local people. Local street gangs, also known as neighborhood drug crews pose a great problem in enforcement of local law. Presently, most street gangs are based on local level and operate in single locations. Their membership ranges from three to several hundreds. These gangs engage in violence in connection with other crimes. It includes drug trafficking, in retail prices. However, they have no ties with other criminal organizations. In places like US-Mexico border, the gangs from both countries have dual membership. This aids them to further their drug-trafficking business (Howell, 2009).

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Prison gangs

These gangs pose a grave domestic threat. Their criminal networks are highly structured and operate within prison systems. Furthermore, they operate in local communities by using members that have been pardoned from prison. The released members, after going back to their homes, resume their gang affiliations. They act as prison gang representatives to recruit members of street gang which act on behalf of the gang in prison. The local level prison gangs operate mostly in the US-Mexico border. They give law enforcement officials a hard time. At times, they lay an ambush on police officers. Local prison gangs operate in corrections department of a single state.

Outlaw motorcycle gangs

These gangs operate in a single state or few states that neighbor each other. Its membership consists of less than 50 members. They pose a public safety threat in the local communities they operate within. Their criminal activity ranges widely and because of their propensity to use violence.

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A gang is different from other social sports in that gang members are inclined towards criminal activity. This group of gangs is more advanced, and whenever provoked they retaliate. They are commonly found in US- Mexico border.

A team

A team is a collection of individuals that seek to achieve a common purpose. They can be a team of football or valley ball player. This is completely different from a gang since its activities are not criminal.

Local gangs are further subdivided into corporate gangs, territorial gangs and scavenger gangs. The main objective of corporate gangs is to make money. They, therefore, engage in drug selling business so that they get money. Labor is divided among the gang members. Each member is then given a task of selling the drugs. All the criminal activities committed by the gang are geared towards a gain. Territorial gangs focus their attention on guarding their property. Leaders are clearly defined as well as goals and objectives. The organizational structure of scavenger gangs is very little. Members are motivated by a desire to be in the group. The crimes performed in this group are senseless.

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The gang classifications above is a true representation of the gangs present in the society today. The problems encountered while classifying gangs are, what crimes do gang members commit, when the crimes are committed and who is engaged in gang activity and the history of the gangs. Further problems that also occur are to locate the exact place where the gang activity began and the reason why the criminal activity is occurring (Miller, 2001). This method is representative in that OJJDP’s Comprehensive Gang Model facilitates problem solving approach to the crimes that are related to gang. Communities are asked to identify:

  • Gang crime hot spots.
  • Frequent gang offenders
  • Schools and other society setting with active crime.
  • Numerous risk factor neighborhoods for gang involvement.
  • Violent gangs.


The youth are prone to engage themselves in gang activities that might affect their lives. They end up not going to school or drop out of school due to criminal activities that take place in gangs. Drug trafficking is a criminal activity that make many gangs land in jail. Gangs should be abolished under all means. The public should inform law enforcement officers of the existence of such gangs since they pose security threat to the public.