The Contribution of Gang Membership to the Victim-Offender Overlap

David C. Pyrooz, Richard K. Moule, Scott Decker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

99 Scopus citations


Objective: Although a vast literature has investigated the consequences of gang membership for offending and victimization, little is known about the contribution of gang membership to the victim-offender overlap. We advance a group process theoretical model and provide an empirical extension of the victim-offender overlap to gang membership. Method: Using data gathered from 621 respondents in five cities, the contribution of gang membership to the victim-offender overlap is determined by examining (1) a typology of four victim-offender arrangements using multinomial logistic regression modeling and (2) the latent propensity for violent offending and victimization using multilevel item response theory modeling. Results: Gang members were over twice as likely as nongang members to be both victims and offenders, even after adjusting for low self-control, adherence to street codes, and routine activities. Neither contemporary theoretical perspectives on the overlapnor the reciprocal relationship between violent outcomes eliminated the association of gang membership with violent victimization and violent offending. Conclusion: By theoretically and empirically integrating gang membership into current knowledge on the victim-offender overlap, the results suggest that there is much to be gained for research and practice by unpacking the features of criminal and deviant networks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)315-348
Number of pages34
JournalJournal of Research in Crime and Delinquency
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2014


  • gang membership
  • offending
  • overlap
  • victimization
  • violence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


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