Into The Abyss:
A Personal Journey into the World of Street Gangs

by Mike Carlie, Ph.D.        
Michael K. Carlie
Continually updated.

~ Table of Contents ~
Home | Foreword | Preface | Orientation

What I Learned | Conclusions
End Note |
| Appendix
Site Map / Contents
| New Research

Up-To-Date Gang-Related News

Section IV - Conclusions, Gangs and the Future, 
A Research Note and End Note

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bulletChapter 18: Conclusions
bulletChapter 19: Gangs and the Future
bulletChapter 20: A research Note
bulletChapter 21: End Note

Chapter 18:
Conclusions - Part 1

Except for quotations drawn from other researchers' works and one or two interview subjects who mentioned the "gang problem," I never placed the words gang and problem together in this book. Gangs are not the problem. They are a problem - for the youths who join them, the justice system, their victims, and the entire community. Gangs are a symptom of the problems. If we want to reduce gang activity meaningfully and over the long-term, we need to define the problem as the conditions which cause gangs to form and lead some youths to join them

Those conditions or causes of gang formation and gang joining are referred to as "risk factors." To overcome them, communities develop "protective factors" which inhibit the risk factors. We will review the risk- and protective factors in the Solutions section of Into the Abyss

The following are conclusions drawn from the previous sections Into the Abyss and are presented in the order in which they originally appeared. The solutions offered in the next section of the book are based upon these conclusions.

By clicking on the title of a conclusion you 
will be taken to the material upon which it is based.

The Perspective

The Social Institutional Perspective: The greatest reason for the formation of gangs is the degeneration of a neighborhood's social institutions (i.e., family, school, faith, commerce, government). The clearest path to reducing gang activity and youth violence is the regeneration and rebuilding of those social institutions.

The Spigot and the Spill: Focusing on intervention and suppression efforts to reduce gang activity and youth violence to the exclusion of prevention is pure folly. Unless we turn off the spigot - the causes of gang formation, we will never finish cleaning up the spill - the existing gang population.

Gangs are Not the Problem: Gangs are not the problem. They are a symptom of the problems which cause them to form and some youths to join them. If the problem is defined incorrectly it can never be solved.

The "Problem" and Stories of Denial

I learned several important things about the "problem" and denial.

bulletDifferent people perceive of "the problem" concerning gangs differently. A consensus concerning what the problems are will facilitate their solution.

bulletThe perceived problems associated with gangs are wide spread and impact entire communities and their neighborhoods in a variety of ways.

bulletCommunities can ill afford to deny a gang presence when there is one. Fear and panic are inappropriate and unproductive responses. Intelligent data gathering and investigating ways in which similarly situated communities have handled their gang situations are appropriate initial responses.

The next three Parts of the Conclusions each deal with a different Section of What I Learned about Gangs

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click on "Next" at the bottom of the page.

Part 2 - Section I: Gangs and Gang Members

Part 3 - Section II: The Community Response to Gangs

Part 4 - Section III: Gangs and the Response of the Justice System


2002 Michael K. Carlie
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without permission in writing from the author and copyright holder - Michael K. Carlie.