Gangs 101 - Gang Structure
Reprinted here with permission.
The following information was taken from the manual Comprehensive
Community Reanimation Process published by Urban Dynamics,
Inc. While the document presented here is by no means complete, it
does offer a good grounding in contemporary gang phenomenon. If you
are interested in obtaining a complete copy of the manual you may do
so by contacting UDI at (708) 385-0066. (Source: http://www.lincolnnet.net/users/lrttrapp/block/gangs101.htm)
All gangs have identifiable levels of membership. These levels of
membership indicate status within a gang and acts as the
organizational maintenance systems. There are actually six levels of
The leader(s) of a gang determines at what level of criminal
activity the gang will function. Characteristics of the leader(s)
are reflected in the day to day activities of the gang. The leader
is all powerful.
2. Hard Core
The hard core gang members are usually the older gang members, the
individuals who are culturally and criminally enmeshed in the gang
and are at risk of being so for life. Most violent gang activity
emanates from the hard core gang members. Hard core gang members
usually make up about 10% of gang membership.
The associate gang member has usually made a personal commitment to
the gang culture and is dedicated to achieving the level of
recognition needed to attain hard core status.
The fringe gang member is still able to function outside of the gang
structure and has not made a commitment to a life in the criminal
gang culture. This type of member drifts in and out of the gang and
seems to lack direction.
Wanna-bes are not actually gang members. They are youth who view the
gang as an exciting place to be, a place where they could become
"somebody". Wanna-bes may emulate gang dress, graffiti,
hand signs, and other gang cultural symbols, and they may associate
with known gang members, but they have not yet been excepted into
Very seldom is the gang at full strength. Exceptions to this, of
course, would be times of conflict or possibly at social functions.
What is most often seen as "the gang" is usually a clique
from within the larger gang. The clique is a group of associate,
fringe, and often, wanna-be gang members who gravitate around one or
more of the hard core gang members. This somewhat resembles a gang
within a gang.
the Abyss: The Structure of
Gangs | Appendix |