Gangs, gang homicides, and gang loyalty: Organized crimes or disorganized criminals

Scott H. Decker, G. David Curry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

110 Scopus citations


Gang members contribute disproportionately to homicide. This article examines gang homicide during its peak in the mid-1990s in St. Louis, a city with high homicide rates and large gang problems. The article addresses two related questions, the differences between gang and non-gang homicides, and the social organization of gang homicide. Marked differences between gang and non-gang homicides were found. These differences centered primarily on guns and the similarity of victim and offender characteristics. Gang homicides most often occurred within gang factions rather than between factions. Gangs were unable to organize homicides in an effective manner, which reflected the disorganized character of gangs and the neighborhoods in which they reside. The findings of this article raised important questions about the cohesiveness of gangs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)343-352
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Criminal Justice
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law


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