Neighborhoods and Street Gangs

Andrew V. Papachristos, Lorine A. Hughes

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

11 Scopus citations


The word "street" immediately appended to the word "gang" implies that these groups' social world revolves around the asphalt, pavement, and bricks that make up urban neighborhoods. This chapter unpacks the sacred gang-neighborhood relationship by synthesizing what may seem like divergent perspectives. It differentiates perspectives on the gang-neighborhood link with a simple statistical metaphor, comparing views of gangs as "dependent variables" and views of gangs as "independent variables." The chapter uses statistical language to differentiate where prior analysts have placed the causal power of gangs: on the neighborhood or on the gang itself. The reality is that gangs are on both sides of the equation. The chapter examines how gangs move throughout the actual three-dimensional space of hanging out, selling drugs, spray painting graffiti, and so on. As gangs navigate and create meaning in geographic space, gang networks and neighborhood networks become entangled and almost indistinguishable.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Handbook of Gangs
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9781118726822
ISBN (Print)9781118726877
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015


  • Gang networks
  • Gang-neighborhood
  • Social space
  • Street gangs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)


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