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The Gang that Plays Together, Stays Together: An Exploratory Analysis of Patterns of Association and Cohesion in Los Angeles Street Gangs

Creative Commons 'BY' version 4.0 license

Though cohesion is frequently referenced as an important construct of group process in gang scholarship, little is known of the stability of this process over time. The present paper utilizes data from the Hollenbeck Community Policing Area of Los Angeles to examine patterns of association within and between street gangs, focusing on temporal trends in cohesion. Findings indicate that gangs with high cohesion at the beginning of the period studied maintain high levels of cohesion, gangs with mid levels of cohesion experience an increase in cohesion, and gangs of low cohesion present variability in cohesion levels over time. Findings provide support for both the efficacy and potential detrimental effects of civil gang injunctions, relating to the level of cohesion shown in the gang prior to its enjoinment. Areas of future study and policy implications are discussed.

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