This book challenges many of the claims made by law enforcement and the media regarding the nature and extent of the gang problem in the United States. Employing a social constructionist approach to the study of social problems, the authors detail how law enforcement has figured prominently in the creation and promotion of stereotypes—marketing the gang threat via the news media to protect and increase organizational resources and power.
A rich historical context traces street gangs form their emergence in urban centers in the 19th century, to the western outlaw gangs of the post-Civil War period, to contemporary gangs. Other chapters cover conditions, social problems, and moral panics; the police, crime control, and gangs; crime, gangs, and the news media; the gang panic in Nevada; gangs in the legislature; prosecuting gangs; and panic at the national level.
For citizens interested in social problems and public policy.