Specialized police gang units are a rapidly emerging form of concentrated social control. Prior research, however, into the creation of specialized gang units suffers from a number of theoretical and methodological shortcomings. These shortcomings make it difficult to understand which of several potential explanations can best account for the establishment of specialized police gang units. Three perspectives are examined that have been hypothesized by policymakers and academics to explain the creation of gang units: contingency theory, social threat theory, and resource dependency theory. Using data obtained from police departments and communities around the country, the explanatory power of measures derived from these three theories is explored, while controlling for several environmental and organizational influences.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine
- Public Administration