Study Explores Gang Activity on the Internet

Gangs are not using the Internet to recruit new members or commit complex cybercrimes, according to a new study funded by Google Ideas.

“What they are doing online is typically what they are doing on the street,” said David Pyrooz, an assistant professor at Sam Houston State University, College of Criminal Justice and coauthor of the study. “For the most part, gang members are using the Internet for self-promotion and braggadocio, but that also involves some forms of criminal and deviant behaviors.“

 
“Criminal and Routine Activities in Online Settings: Gangs, Offenders, and the Internet,” coauthored by Scott Decker, director of the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, and doctoral student Richard Moule of Arizona State University, was recently published online by Justice Quarterly. It investigates the use of the Internet and social networking sites by gang members and other young adults for online crime and deviance.
 
The study was based on interviews the authors conducted with 585 young adults from five cities, including Cleveland, Ohio; Fresno, Calif.; Los Angeles, Calif.; Phoenix, Ariz.; and St. Louis, Mo. It was funded by Google Ideas, a think/do tank that explores the role that technology can play in tackling human challenges, such as violent extremism, illicit networks and fragile states.
 
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