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Gang Membership, Gun Carrying, and Employment: Applying Routine Activities Theory to Explain Violent Victimization Among Inner City, Minority Youth Living in Extreme Poverty


Gang Membership, Gun Carrying, and Employment: Applying Routine Activities Theory to Explain Violent Victimization Among Inner City, Minority Youth Living in Extreme Poverty

Abstract: 

Conceptual inconsistencies in routine activities theory are illustrated by demonstrating how gang membership, gun carrying, and employment can be categorized as both risk and protective factors in a high‐poverty context. Two waves of longitudinal data from a high‐poverty sample of African American youth were used to examine the determinants of victimization risk. Bivariate analyses indicated that gang membership, gun carrying, and employment status are significant risk factors for violent victimization, but these effects were mediated by measures of lifestyles (e.g., demographic and family factors, deviant lifestyles) included as controls in the full multivariate model. In other words, the strong positive relationship between gang membership and gun carrying found in previous studies may be due to model misspecification and/or the lack of research on high‐poverty samples of inner city youth from the Deep South. Additional logistic regression analyses also indicate that the number of hours employed per week (but not employment status) is a risk factor for violent victimization. Finally, the theoretical implications of these findings for routine activities theory are discussed.

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Full Citation: 

Spano, Richard, Joshua D. Freilich, and John Bolland. 2008. "Gang Membership, Gun Carrying, and Employment: Applying Routine Activities Theory to Explain Violent Victimization Among Inner City, Minority Youth Living in Extreme Poverty." Justice Quarterly 25 (June): 381-410. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/07418820802024911#preview

START Author(s): 
Joshua Freilich
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