The Gangfighters Network is an organization designed to bridge the gap between academia and the criminal justice professions. For more information, visit and The focus is on gangs, initially adult gangs as it appears they have been ignored or absorbed into the mainstream society. There's a special focus on gang members in the military.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Saturday, September 3, 2011

define disjuncture

You know it's the right time to learn when there's disjuncture:

The optimal “zone”— when time seems to STOP
When our repertoire is no longer able to cope with our situation . .
Tension with our environment
Establishes a foundation for real learning.
 Jarvis, P. (2006). Towards a Comprehensive Theory of Human Learning. New York: Routledge.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Flash Mobs and Street Gangs morphing into . . .?

. . . young adults have been uniting in order to commit robberies. More disconcerting is the use of social media to organize gang gatherings . . . more here

Street gangs have been around since as far back as Chaucer in 1390 and Shakespeare in 1602, though little was known of the members of those groups (Klein, 1995). almost two decades ago Ball and Curry defined gangs as a …spontaneous, semisecret, interstitial, integrated but mutable social system whose members share common interests and that functions with relatively little regard for legality. (p. 9)

But they were never as spontaneous in appearance as modern day flash mobs . . . were they?

Flash mobs are hardly new, at least if you are using technology time. They were mainstream enough to be covered by a national media outlet in February 2006 when a Fox News affiliate in San Francisco reported 1,000 people meeting at the city's Ferry Building for a 30-minute outdoor pillow fight.

But the synthesis, or morphing of flash mobs and gangs has produced a hybrid that few appear prepared to respond to, and for good reason. The spontaneity and secrecy of the flash mob combined with the no-holds-barred targeted crime and/or violence of the street gang produces a mix that would be hard to combat even with inside intelligence. The instant access and extended reach of social media sites like Twitter and Facebook bring a twist that makes the spontaneous volatility even more difficult to prevent.

The earliest we have been able to find gang-like activity with flash mob-like technology-assisted surprise was in March 2004 when 3 dozen people were arrested for a street fight arranged via an Internet chat room. Two Dallas gangs, after trading insults in a chat room, traded their keyboards for fists and baseball bats and arranged a time to meet and duke it out in real life.

But that action didn't start a trend like the one seen in recent months. The seemingly random acts of the groups highlighted here should be concerning to law enforcement across the country. Flash-mob violence has recently been reported in Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Washington D.C.

Recently in Chicago, the Chicago Sun-Times (and Police Magazine) reported groups of youth were using text messaging and social media to gather at specified locations on the city's South Side, where robbers attacked people with pepper spray. Flash mob attacks were also reported in the Streeterville neighborhood.

Los Angeles
On April 28, 2011 in Venice Beach, a man was shot amid a flash mob that was organized around a Venice Beach basketball court on Twitter. According to NPR, Alexandria Thompson used her Tweetdeck to monitor potential dangers (she is on neighborhood watch) and reported to the police when "Venice beach bball ct going up tomorrow," showed up. There was also mention of gang affiliations which also led to her reporting the possibility of trouble to the police.

One store owner observed that "all of a sudden the street was really crowded." Some say the crowd of youths was in the hundreds. Others say thousands. The kids began to jump up and down, and then utter chaos broke out. Some of the teens started beating each other up, while others began banging on the windows of his shop. "They were trying to climb in the windows on top of the people who were dining, so we pushed them out, we closed the doors and we locked the front doors," he said. "Whatever they had in mind, to me, it was like a home invasion."

Washington D.C.
In April 2011 in Washington, D.C., nearly 20 youths gathered outside the G-Star Raw clothing store in Dupont Circle and filed in together, brushing past customers. Video from the store's security camera shows them marching directly to the shelves of expensive designer jeans and racks of high-end shirts. They sorted through the selections for their sizes and tucked them under their arms, initially behaving like usual, if rushed, customers. Then they all suddenly made for the exit, escaping before police arrived 10 minutes later. In just moments, on a busy street in the middle of the day, the suspects had stolen an estimated $20,000 in merchandise, police said.

According to the National Retail Federation, 94.5 percent said they were victimized by organized criminals in the past year. And 84.8 percent said the problem has only worsened in the past three years.

So what's the fix? It's likely the guarded response will be an attempt to diminish the danger, but is that really a good idea?

Last year, the Pennsylvania Bar Association showed some vision when they designed a mock trial scenario about a group that was "not a gang in the traditional sense, but was a collection of students who were organized by social networking technology . . ."

What do you think?

Ball, R. A., & Curry, G. D. (1995). The logic of definition in criminology: Purposes and methods for defining "gangs". Criminology, 33(2), 225-245. doi:10.1111/j.1745-9125.1995.tb01177.x
Klein, M. W. (1995). The American street gang: Its nature, prevalence, and control. New York: Oxford University Press.

short link to this article -

Monday, May 23, 2011

Presenting in Murfreesboro on Gangs & College & Technology

Description An overview of ongoing research including preliminary results form 2009-2011 survey of college students and police regarding the presence of gangs on college campuses.

Here's the publicly-releasable stuff:

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Come join us for a talk about Gangs on Tuesday, May 3, 2011 on OpenLine with Scott Arnold on NewsChannel 5+

Topic: Gangs

Date: Tuesday, May 3, 2011

OpenLine with Scott Arnold on NewsChannel 5+ (250 on Comcast in Nashville).

The show is on the air from 7:00-8:00 p.m.

We will have a discussion and take viewer phone calls.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Perceptions of Gang Investigation Regarding Presence of Military-Trained Gang Members

View this document in ProQuest

Abstract (summary)

Communities everywhere have experienced the negative effects of street gangs. Gang activity in the form of crime and violence has had a devastating effect on the lives of citizens and the safety of our communities. The presence of military-trained gang members (MTGMs) in the community increases the threat of violence to citizens. The problem addressed in this quantitative correlational research study was the apparently growing presence of military-trained gang members in civilian communities. The purpose of the study was to more closely examine the nexus between the perceived presence of military-trained gang members and the perceptions of gang investigators regarding the presence and the size of their jurisdictions, the proximity of their jurisdictions to a military installation, and the extent to which investigators participate in anti-gang activities. An online survey, the Military Gang Perception Questionnaire (MGPQ), was created to collect responses from the 260 active members of the Tennessee Gang Investigators Association (TNGIA). The electronic distribution of the survey was facilitated by Google Documents. A sample size calculation was computed for a multiple regression analysis involving seven predictors, a significance level of .05, a power of 80%, and a medium effect size (f 2 =0.15). That power analysis indicated that N =103 was sufficient to detect this size of effect. The statistical analyses used to test the hypotheses in this study were Pearson and Spearman Correlation Coefficients, independent means t tests, and Ordinary Least Squares (OLS) Regression analysis. Many of the 119 respondents felt anti-gang prohibitions would limit the activity of MTGMs. Respondents reported a mean of 11% of the gang members in their jurisdictions were MTGMs. The Army, Army National Guard, and Army Reserve were identified as the largest sources of MTGMs and the Bloods, Crips, and Gangster Disciples were the gangs most represented. There was a statistically significant positive correlation (ρ=.24, p <.05) between MTGM presence percent score and jurisdiction size. There was also a statistically significant positive correlation (ρ=.28, p <.05) between MTGM presence percent score and the distance from the nearest military installation (computed). Recommendations included that military leadership should conduct cumulative tracking and analysis of gang threats, and apply an all-hands approach to identifying gang members in the military. When an installation shows a decrease in gang-related activity, solutions that led to the decrease should be identified. Military leadership should identify and examine all suspected military gang members and policy makers should identify gangs and related groups as Security Threat Groups.

Indexing (details)

Subjects Criminology, Public policy, Military studies
Classification 0627: Criminology, 0630: Public policy, 0750: Military studies
Identifiers / Keywords Social sciences, Gangs, Street gangs, Military, Armed forces, Gang members, Military-trained
Title Perceptions of Gang Investigation Regarding Presence of Military-Trained Gang Members
Authors Smith, Carter F.
Publication title ProQuest Dissertations and Theses
Number of pages 202
Publication year 2010
Publication Date 2010
Year 2010
Section 1443
ISBN 9781124391373
Advisor House, John
School Northcentral University
School location United States -- Arizona
Degree Ph.D.
Source type Dissertations & Theses
Language of Publication English; EN
Document Type Dissertation/Thesis
Publication / Order Number 3437991
ProQuest Document ID 845233422
Document URL
Copyright Copyright ProQuest, UMI Dissertations Publishing 2010
Last Updated 2011-01-27