A Former Street Gang Leader Reinterviewed Eight Years Later

Glenn E. Weisfeld, Roger Feldman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


A former street gang leader restates his earlier endorsement of the economic, or differential opportunity, model of crime causation. He also maintains that most of his former associates continued in crime because of adherence to the lower-class values of toughness, autonomy, and easy money. He himself abandoned crime and has become moderately successful as an independent businessman. He believes that crime is a bad bargain in the long run, and cites the example of many of his friends who have died as a result of illicit activities. However, he maintains that the advantages of legitimate work are not evident to most urban youths, so that many of them perceive—perhaps correctly—that gang and criminal activities are sensible, at least during adolescence. This analysis suggests that improving employment opportunities for young people would draw them into legitimate work. Our informant believes that young people from his background will respond rationally to clearly attractive employment opportunities, and to information from a trusted source about the costs of crime.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)567-581
Number of pages15
JournalCrime & Delinquency
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1982

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