Book Review: Policing Gangs in America

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This book review covers Policing Gangs in America by Charles Katz and Vincent Webb. Charles Katz has a Ph.D. in Criminal Justice, while Vincent Webb has a Ph.D. in Sociology, making both qualified to conduct and discuss research on gangs. Research for Policing Gangs in America was gathered in four cities across the American Southwest; Inglewood, California, Albuquerque, New Mexico, Las Vegas, Nevada, and Phoenix, Arizona. This review will summarize and discuss the main points of each chapter, then cover the relationship between the literature and class discussions in Introduction to Policing and finally it will note the strengths and weaknesses of book. The first chapter of Policing Gangs in America is entitled, “Studying the Police Response to Gangs.” The primary purpose of the chapter is to establish how police agencies; Inglewood, Las Vegas, Albuquerque and Phoenix in specific, respond to gang problems in their respective areas. This chapter served as an introduction, giving a brief history of gang-related policing, how the public and media see the gang problem, research studies done regarding gangs and the recent declaration to shift away from suppression-oriented strategies as a result of overly aggressive actions toward citizens. Examples of this misconduct are given in the forms of gang units from Las Vegas, Chicago and Houston. The second chapter is titled, “Setting and Methods” and sets out to make clear to the reader the specific methods and research conducted during the study. This study is the primary purpose of the book, and as with all research studies, how one conducts their research is incredibly important, especially if the study plans to be replicated at any point in time. The topics included in this cha... ... middle of paper ... ...g measures out there. The reader is given plenty of background information on gangs allowing someone with little knowledge of the subject or the cities’ history to jump right in. Statistics, interviews, surveys and personal observations of the authors during ride-alongs make up much of the source material. The book’s strengths lie in the amount of research contained within it, as well as an insider look at the gang unit and what it takes to be an officer in that specialization. However, if it is not being used to supplement another research paper or study, the book comes off as a difficult and boring read, making a reader likely to put it down otherwise. Works Cited Katz, C. M., & Webb, V. J. (2006). Policing Gangs in America. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Walker, S., & Katz, C. (2011). The Police in America: An Introduction. New York: McGraw-Hill.

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