GANG VIOLENCE!

 

The nature of gang violence has changed, with lethal violence now more likely to be related to the drug trade than to gang rivalries. Men commit most of the more serious violence, although female adolescent gangs may have fought even more than male gangs. Most male violence is still related to men acting like "tough guys" in fights and shooting incidents with rival male gang members. The most common reasons for fights include turf, respect, jealousy over women, and domestic violence. Male adult gang members report access to multiple weapons, while nearly all female adults ex-gang members did not have ready access to guns. Drug related violence represents between a third and half of all gang violence, which is a small, but unknown percentage of the total violence in the communities studied. Most drug related violence was related to the illegal nature of the drug market. In other words, absent legal controls of drug markets, gang members used illicit means, including violence, to control customers, to defend market share, and to keep employees in line. New jacks are significantly more likely to engage in drive-by shootings and drug related violence. Most female gang members joined the gang of their own volition. A few girls were sexually exploited and physically threatened while in the gang. The drug selling business was also characterized by repeated sexual exploitation and violence toward women.

 

From the Milwaukee Drug Posse and Homegirl Studies Final Report

 

Violence and Substance Use

Type of Incident

Opponent, shooter, or Victim was high at the time

Respondent or the person who did the killing was high at the time

The opponent, shooter, or victim was a friend or relative

last three fights

N= 129

(83)

64.3%

(89)

70.0%

( 29)

22.5%

last three times R was shot at

N=115

( 94)

81.7%

(58)

50.4%

( 13)

11.3%

last three persons R has seen killed

N=77

( 46)

 

59.7%

( 42)

 

54.5%

( 24)

 

31.1%

 

This table shows that most violence occurs with one or both participants
high on alcohol or drugs.


 

Drugs and Violence

 

Type of Incident

While Ripping off to get Drugs

Happened after the drugs were all gone

Related to a dope deal gone bad

last three fights

N=129

( 11)

8.5%

( 28)

21.7%

( 6)

4.7%

last three times R was shot at

N=115

( 10)

8.7%

( 22)

19.1%

( 19)

16.5%

last three persons R has seen killed

N=77

19.60 ( 19)

24.7%

18.80 ( 13)

16.9%

23.20 ( 23)

29.9%

 

This table applies Paul Goldstein's tripartite typology of violence to reports of
male gang violence in the drug posse study. Consistent with Goldstein's New
York City data, it shows that a large percentage of lethal violence is related
to drug deals. In Goldstein's terms, it is "systemic."


Male Gang Violence and Women

 

Type of Incident

Over a Woman

Gang Related

last three fights

N=129

( 41)

31.8%

( 42)

32.6%

last three times R was shot at

N=115

( 22)

19.1%

( 111)

96.5%

last three persons R has seen killed

N=77

( 13)

16.9%

( 46)

59.7%

 

This table shows fights between gang members are as likely to be over a
woman as "gang related." More lethal violence, however, is much more
likely to be about revenge, turf, or drugs.

 

Do male and female gang members differ in their exposure to violence? Click here.


 

Instrumental and Expressive Violence

 

 

Number of Incidents

Expressive

Instrumental

Fights

129

86 (67%)

29 (33%)

Times Shot at

115

20 (17%)

95 (83%)

Persons Seen Killed

77

30 (39%)

47 (61%)

 

This table shows fights are more likely to be expressive (unplanned and related
to identity) than instrumental (planned).

 

These tables explain some aspects of male violence in Milwaukee gangs. They are
based on interviews which had gang members describe their last three fights, the last
three times they were shot at, and the last three people they had personally seen killed.