Youth Gangs and Community Intervention: Research, Practice, and Evidence

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Although a range of program and policy responses to youth gangs exists, most are largely based on suppression, implemented by the police or other criminal justice agencies. Less attention and fewer resources have been directed to prevention and intervention strategies that draw on the participation of community organizations, schools, and social service agencies in the neighborhoods in which gangs operate. Also underemphasized is the importance of integrating such approaches at the local level.

In this volume, leading researchers discuss effective intervention among youth gangs, focusing on the ideas behind, approaches to, and evidence about the effectiveness of community-based interventions. Treating community as a crucial unit of analysis and action, these essays reorient our understanding of gangs and the measures undertaken to defeat them. They emphasize the importance of community, both as a context that shapes opportunity and as a resource that promotes positive youth engagement. Covering key themes and debates, this book explores the role of social capital and collective efficacy in informing youth gang intervention and evaluation, the importance of focusing on youth development within the context of community opportunities and pressures, and the possibilities of better linking research, policy, and practice when responding to youth gangs, among other critical issues.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231146852
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 3/11/2010
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 296
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert J. Chaskin is an associate professor at The University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration and a research fellow at Chapin Hall. A sociologist by training, his research focuses primarily on community organization and the role of community and community-based efforts to improve the lives of children, youth, and families. He is the coauthor of Building Community Capacity.

Columbia University Press

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

Introduction Robert J. Chaskin ix

Part I Framing the Youth Gang Problem

1 The Chicago School: A Context for Youth Intervention Research and Development Robert J. Chaskin 3

2 The Evolution of Gang Policy: Balancing Intervention and Suppression George E. Tita Andrew Papachristos 24

Part II Evidence, Evaluation, and Knowledge Utilization

3 Lessons Learned from Gang Program Evaluations: Prevention, Intervention, Suppression, and Comprehensive Community Approaches James C. Howell 51

4 An Examination of the Role of CeaseFire, the Chicago Police, Project Safe Neighborhoods, and Displacement in the Reduction in Homicide in Chicago in 2004 Charlie Ransford Candice Kane Tim Metzger Elena Quintana Gary Slutkin 76

5 From Knowledge to Response and Back Again: Theory and Evaluation in Responding to Gangs G. David Curry 109

6 Promoting Research Integrity in Community-Based Intervention Research James F. Short, Jr. Lorine A. Hughes 127

Part III (RE) Considering Contexts, Orientations, and Interventions

7 Multiple Marginality and Human Development: Applying Research Insights for Gang Prevention and Intervention James Diego Vigil 155

8 A Community Youth Development Approach to Gang Control Programs Jeffrey A. Butts Caterina Gouvis Roman 175

9 Taking Criminology Seriously: Narratives, Norms, Networks, and Common Ground David M. Kennedy 206

10 Community Gang Programs: Theory, Models, and Effectiveness Irving A. Spergel 222

List of Contributors 249

Index 251

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