The book "How Gangs Work" portrays the gang life vividly, however, not as traditionally known by the British. There have been mythologies or traditions surrounding gang life, and this is what James Densley deconstructs and tries to make sense of the gang members' motivations and profiles in rational and straightforward terms. Certain factors motivate the gang members, and these are what the book majorly focusses. In the book, Densley has covered diverse components including gang evolution and the manner in which gangs organize their operations. Densely has also discussed the recruitment process of gang members putting a lot of emphasis on the members' roles during the process of recruitment. In the book, the author takes a lot of his time outlining the use of technology, media, and violence by gangs. As Densley ends his book, he brings out an important chapter that talks about the future of gang prevention. It is an essential section of this book as it is where the author has defined the diverse techniques that the police, practitioners, and policymakers should put into consideration in seeing that such crimes related to gangs get minimized in the future (Densley, 2013).
Gang organization is one of the major topics covered by Densley in his book. The objective of having an in-depth discussion of this topic by the author was majorly to create awareness among his readers on the operational models and or techniques of gangs. The importance of having an understanding on how gangs operate is that it would enable the ordinary citizens to be aware and able to identify a gang-related activity and report the same to the relevant authorities which would then take the appropriate action.
In this section, the author made an investigative report that in most cases, gangs usually evolve from friendship associations. According to Densley, his research has it that in normal conditions, five to ten friends is usually the ideal number of friends from which gangs evolve. There are different communication channels employed by gang founder members, and more often, they gather at one point from which they strategize all their movements during the operations. Densely further elaborates that as the size of a gang increases, the members usually adapt with the changes and more specifically their communication becomes more tactically whereby the members get divided into smaller communication groups so that the members do not remain open. The communication pattern used here resolves to the upward communication pattern whereby the information communicated from the smaller groups gets conveyed to the highest ranking command.
There are usually fear among the gang of being infiltrated by security agencies and that is the reason as to why they delegate communication (Melde, 2013). The attention of police officers in most cases gets drawn by large gatherings, and this is a tactic that the gangs know. Understanding that communication is the most critical element of the gang activities, they have to be as tactical as possible to enable them to do away with their criminal activities. Besides, the division of the gang members usually takes a funny route where you find that the elder members get grouped while the young ones also get grouped separately. Member in the same subgroup are the ones who in most cases perform the gang activities, and according to the author, this is a move viewed as being strategized and its primary aim is to ensure that all the gang members do not get exposed while also preparing the young members of the gang for future responsibilities (Densley, 2013).
It is true that Densley provided extensive information concerning the organization, recruitment, and violence by the gang. However, I strongly feel that there are still gaps that could be filled by the author by providing more concepts on media, gangs, and technology. According to the author, the commonly used channel of communication by gangs is the social media, and he justifies this by stating that they are more secure as compared to the standard messages. He goes ahead saying that most of the gangs hide their information in their sent messages, and besides, he goes ahead to state that gangs usually organize their attacks through platforms such as Twitter and other social media platforms. On finances aspect, Densley has stated that the gangs have used PayPal for their transactions and in hiding their identity. I agree that the author did intensive research in coming out with such conclusions. However, I am of the idea, and I firmly believe that social platforms such as Twitter could not be hideouts for such criminals. Again, PayPal is a secure payment platform that could not be used by gangs without their identities getting revealed (Melde, 2013).
As a result of such personal analysis, I therefore firmly believe and feel that the author ought to have provided and more solid information on how gangs use various technological forms and the social media platforms in conducting their criminal duties. The importance of this is that it helps to do away with the prevailing confusion among the readers that results from the lack of full evidenced information. Finally, it is also appropriate to applause the author for doing such a great job providing necessary information on a topic that has always remained mysterious for a very long time.
Densley, J. A. (2013). "How gangs work: An ethnography of youth violence." New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan, 10, 9781137271518
Melde, C. (2013). The practicalities of targeted gang interventions. Criminology & Public Policy, 12(1), 43-48.
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