What Do We Know About Gangs and Gang Members and Where Do We Go From Here?

Scott Decker, Chris Melde, David C. Pyrooz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

178 Scopus citations


This review provides an opportunity to assess the current state of gang research and suggest directions for its future. There has been a dramatic increase in research on gangs, gang members, and gang behavior since the early 1990s, making this review especially timely. We use Short's three-level framework of explanation to organize the findings of prior research, focusing on individual-, micro-, and macro-level research. Attention is focused on the findings of such research, but we also examine theoretical and methodological developments as well. Drawing from Short and life-course research, we introduce a cross-level temporal framework to guide future directions in gang research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)369-402
Number of pages34
JournalJustice Quarterly
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2013


  • gang members
  • gangs
  • group process
  • risk factors
  • structural correlates

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Law


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