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Articles on Gangs

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Dancing with danger. West Side Story/Amblin

‘West Side Story’ may be timeless – but life in gangs today differs drastically from when the Jets and Sharks ruled the streets

Gangs have changed in the decades since ‘West Side Story’ first came out – they are deadlier, and their demographics are different – as are the means law enforcement use to control them.
Children watch as police work behind a cordon where a young victim of a gang shooting lies dead on the ground. Photo by Brenton Geach/Gallo Images via Getty Images

Study paints a grim picture of what young gangsters think about violence and manhood

Findings show that in the face of marginalisation and social exclusion, youth in gangs think that they have no options except violence to prove that they are ‘real’ men in their communities.
Junior college athletes work hard to get noticed by big-time schools. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Portland Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

Netflix series ‘Last Chance U’ speaks to the reality of athletes I study

A basketball coach at a small community college in the Midwest reveals the challenges he faces on a regular basis to save his players from the pitfalls of the streets.
A demonstrator heads to an anti-violence protest in Chicago, which has struggled with gun violence for decades, July 7, 2018. Jim Young/AFP via Getty Images)

Faith-based ‘violence interrupters’ stop gang shootings with promise of redemption for at-risk youth – not threats of jail

Gun violence has killed hundreds of Americans, including kids, this summer. There are proven ways to bring peace to city streets, says an expert in violence prevention – but someone has to pay for it.
Even before COVID-19, El Salvador’s prisons were contagious disease hotspots. Here, MS-13 gang members with tuberculosis at Chalatenango prison, March 29, 2019. Marvin Recinos/AFP via Getty Images

Mass arrests and overcrowded prisons in El Salvador spark fear of coronavirus crisis

El Salvador is arresting thousands of people for violating its COVID-19 quarantine, further packing a ‘hellish’ penal system once described as a ‘petri dish’ for infectious disease.

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