Date of Award

3-2014

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Criminal Justice

Department

Criminal Justice

First Reader/Committee Chair

Gisela Bichler

Abstract

According to the 2011 National Gang Threat Assessment created by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, there are more than 33,000 gangs in the United States, cited as being responsible for nearly 48% of the violent crime in the country. Using information drawn from gang-related court cases, this study examines the nature of inter- and intra-gang violence occurring between January 1, 2002-December 31, 2011. An innovative application of network analysis will be used to hone in on rivalries, the existence of possible hierarchy, and the relational and structural characteristics of Blood and Crip gangs in Los Angeles County. Results show that the majority of gang-on-gang violence originates and targets individuals in the city of Los Angeles. Furthermore, more than two-thirds of the violence committed at the hands of Blood and Crip gangs is upon individuals that are not affiliated with a gang. Strategies are offered on how to improve the effectiveness of existing community-based policing or hot-spot policing in areas known to have violent gang-related incidents (Los Angeles City). Furthermore, the implementation of programs designed to assist and deter the formation and proliferation of gangs will result in less gang violence and therefore more time to be spent on creating law enforcement strategies aimed at quelling the more troublesome gang rivalries.