Today there is increased interest—and a greater body of published research than ever before—regarding the existence and activities of organized crime groups and gangs. At the heart of this issue is the question: who joins these groups and why? There are two generally accepted theoretical perspectives that explain gang and organized crime membership—one that includes theories focusing on psychological factors and one that includes theories focusing on sociological factors. Exploring each theoretical perspective is critical to understand potential reasons for the development and proliferation of gangs and organized crime groups.
In this Assignment, you examine specific theories that explain why someone would be motivated to join a criminal organization. You also compare the psychological and sociological perspectives of criminal organizations.
addresses the following: What are the motivations for joining a criminal organization? Use theories to support your response. What are the similarities and differences between micro-level psychological perspectives and macro-level sociological perspectives of criminal organizations? Based on your comparison of the two groups of theories, what conclusions can you draw about why people join criminal organizations? What are the implications for criminal justice interventions against criminal organizations?
Howell, J. C., & Griffiths, E. (2018). Gangs in America’s communities (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.
Chapter 4, “General Macro-Level Theories and Modern-Day Applications” (pp. 81–110)
Chapter 5, “Micro-Level Theories: Developmental Life-Course Pathways and Other Micro-Level Explanations for Gang Involvement” (pp. 111–158)
Chapter 7, “National Gang Problem Trends: 1996–2012” (pp. 183–218)
Harbeck, K. M. (2017). Crime theory: Organized crime. In Salem Press encyclopedia. Ipswich, MA: Salem Press.
Roelofse, C. (2015). Encroachment: A theoretical explanation of organized crime, business and governance. Internal Security, 7(1), 123–141. doi:10.5604/20805268.1192774
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. (2018e, May). Module 6: Causes and facilitating factors of organized crime. Retrieved from https://www.unodc.org/e4j/en/organized-crime/module-6/index.html