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Criminal Behavior of Gangs in Aurora and Denver, Colorado, and Broward County, Florida: 1993-1994 (ICPSR 2626) RSS

Principal Investigator(s):

Summary:

This study was undertaken to measure the criminal behavior of gangs, including their involvement in delinquent behavior such as drug use and drug trafficking activities, and to compare gang behavior with that of youth who were at risk, but who had not yet become active in gangs. The project assessed the role that gangs play in the lives of youth whose living conditions are otherwise comparable. In order to study the criminal behavior of gangs, investigators sought to interview 50 gang members and 50 non-gang, at-risk youth at two sites in Colorado and one site in Florida. A large portion of the interview questions asked in both the gang member interview and the at-risk youth interview were parallel. The following variables appear in both the gang member and at-risk youth files (Parts 1 and 2 respectively) created for this data collection: gang popularity variables (respondents' perceptions of the positive and negative attributes of a gang, and why gangs endure over time), drug involvement variables (whether respondents or fellow members/friends sold various types of drugs, why selling drugs increases a person's "juice", the drug source organization, and where they traveled to get the drugs), criminal history variables (the reasons why respondents believed they were able to get away with crimes, their first arrest age, and their most serious arrest charge), personal activity variables (whether respondents or fellow members/friends participated in dances, sporting events, fighting, drug use or selling, shoplifting, assaulting people, or burglarizing homes), variables concerning the future (whether respondents would join a gang again/join a gang today, why some gangs survive and others don't, and how respondents see their future), and demographic variables (respondents' age, sex, race, city, neighborhood, school, school status, type of work, marital status, and relationship with parent(s)). In addition, Part 1, the Gang Member Data, contains gang status variables (gang symbols, gang nickname, gang turf, and how members define a gang) and gang membership variables (roles of the respondents within the gang, why members join a gang, what the most important gang rule is, and what happens to those who refuse the gang). Part 2, At-Risk Youth Data, contains additional variables on gang contact (the names of gangs who had approached the respondents, methods used to try to get the youths to join, how the youths refused the gang, and what happened as a result of refusing) and prevention (how at-risk youth would advise a young person to react if approached by a gang, and what the youths felt was the best way to prepare children to deal with gangs).

Access Notes

  • One or more files in this study are not available for download due to special restrictions ; consult the restrictions note to learn more. You can apply online for access to the data. A login is required to apply for access.

    A downloadable version of data for this study is available however, certain identifying information in the downloadable version may have been masked or edited to protect respondent privacy. Additional data not included in the downloadable version are available in a restricted version of this data collection. For more information about the differences between the downloadable data and the restricted data for this study, please refer to the codebook notes section of the PDF codebook. Users interested in obtaining restricted data must complete and sign a Restricted Data Use Agreement, describe the research project and data protection plan, and obtain IRB approval or notice of exemption for their research.

Dataset(s)

DS0:  Study-Level Files
DS1:  Gang Member Data - Download All Files (23.3 MB)
DS2:  At-Risk Youth Data - Download All Files (23 MB)

Study Description

Citation

Huff, C. Ronald. CRIMINAL BEHAVIOR OF GANGS IN AURORA AND DENVER, COLORADO, AND BROWARD COUNTY, FLORIDA: 1993-1994. ICPSR version. Columbus, OH: Ohio State University [producer], 1995. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2000. http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR02626.v1

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Funding

This study was funded by:

  • United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice (91-IJ-CX-K013)

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:   criminal histories, criminality, drug abuse, drug traffic, gang members, gangs, living conditions, youths at risk

Geographic Coverage:   Aurora, Colorado, Denver, Florida, United States

Time Period:  

  • 1993--1994

Date of Collection:  

  • 1993--1994

Unit of Observation:   Individuals.

Universe:   All gang members and at-risk youth in Aurora and Denver, Colorado, and Broward County, Florida.

Data Types:   survey data

Data Collection Notes:

(1) The original data collection instruments include references to Ohio sites. Data collected in Ohio were not part of this grant and therefore are not part of this data collection. (2) The user guide, codebook, and data collection instruments are provided as Portable Document Format (PDF) files. The PDF file was developed by Adobe Systems Incorporated and can be accessed using PDF reader software, such as Adobe Acrobat Reader. Information on how to obtain a copy of the Acrobat Reader is provided through the ICPSR Website on the Internet.

Methodology

Study Purpose:   Many communities throughout the nation have attempted to address the emergence of gangs and their related criminal behavior since the mid-1980s. This study was designed to assist these communities and the government in formulating and implementing policies and programs designed to prevent and control the criminal behavior of gangs. The study sought to measure the criminal behavior of gangs, including their involvement in drug use and drug trafficking activities, and to compare gang behavior with that of youth who were at risk, but who had not yet become active in gangs. The project assessed the role that gangs play in the lives of youth whose living conditions are otherwise comparable. The study focused on three critical research questions: (1) What is the nature and extent of criminal behavior committed by youth gangs? (2) What is the nature and extent of criminal behavior committed by non-gang, at-risk youth? and (3) What is the marginal contribution of gang involvement to criminal behavior, comparing gang youth with at-risk youth?

Study Design:   In order to study the criminal behavior of gangs, investigators sought to interview 50 gang members and 50 non-gang, at-risk youth in three sites. Interviewers at each site were selected and trained by the principal investigator using an interview instrument developed for this study. All respondents were paid for their time with either movie coupons or McDonald's coupons. In addition to the coupons, those individuals who had been ordered to complete community service time were given the opportunity to request that the researchers contact the court to ask that the interview be counted toward the youth's community service requirement. Interview scheduling was established so that the safety of all human subjects was protected -- for example, members of rival gangs were never scheduled for sequential interviews. Each of the 285 interviews completed during the study required approximately one and one-half to two hours to complete. Interviews were audiotaped for later transcription, and all responses were subsequently coded for computerized data analyses.

Sample:   Stratified reputational sampling.

Data Source:

personal interviews

Description of Variables:   A large portion of the interview questions asked in both the gang member interview and the at-risk youth interview were parallel. The following variables appear in both the gang member and at-risk youth files (Parts 1 and 2 respectively) created for this data collection: gang popularity variables (respondents' perceptions of positive and negative attributes of a gang, and why gangs endure over time), drug involvement variables (whether respondents or fellow members/friends sold various types of drugs, why selling drugs increases a person's "juice", the drug source organization, and where they traveled to get the drugs), criminal history variables (the reasons why respondents believed they were able to get away with crimes, their first arrest age, and their most serious arrest charge), personal activity variables (whether respondents or fellow members/friends participated in dances, sporting events, fighting, drug use or selling, shoplifting, assaulting people, or burglarizing homes), variables concerning the future (whether respondents would join a gang again/join a gang today, why some gangs survive and others don't, and how respondents see their future), and demographic variables (respondents' age, sex, race, city, neighborhood, school, school status, type of work, marital status, and relationship with parent(s)). In addition, Part 1, the Gang Member Data, contains gang status variables (gang symbols, gang nickname, gang turf, and how members define a gang) and gang membership variables (roles of the respondents within the gang, why members join a gang, what the most important gang rule is, and what happens to those who refuse the gang). Part 2, At-Risk Youth Data, contains additional variables on gang contact (the names of gangs who had approached the respondents, methods used to try to get the youths to join, how the youths refused the gang, and what happened as a result of refusing) and prevention (how at-risk youth would advise a young person to react if approached by a gang, and what the youths felt was the best way to prepare children to deal with gangs).

Response Rates:   Not applicable.

Presence of Common Scales:   Several Likert-type scales were used.

Extent of Processing:  ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

  • Standardized missing values.
  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.

Version(s)

Original ICPSR Release:  

Version History:

  • 2006-03-30 File QU2626.ALL.PDF was removed from any previous datasets and flagged as a study-level file, so that it will accompany all downloads.
  • 2006-03-30 File CB2626.ALL.PDF was removed from any previous datasets and flagged as a study-level file, so that it will accompany all downloads.
  • 2005-11-04 On 2005-03-14 new files were added to one or more datasets. These files included additional setup files as well as one or more of the following: SAS program, SAS transport, SPSS portable, and Stata system files. The metadata record was revised 2005-11-04 to reflect these additions.

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