There is a paucity of research comparing gang members and domestic extremists and extant studies find few explicit linkages. Despite this, there remains a great deal of interest in possible similarities between these criminal groups. Driving this interest is the possibility of adapting policies and practices aimed at preventing entry into criminal groups. A critical first step to determining compatibility is to examine the circumstances of the individuals who enter these organizations and better describe the entry processes. This study provides a unique comparison of entry into these groups by drawing on four broad empirically derived mechanisms of group entry using forty-five in-person interviews of U.S. gang members and thirty-eight life history narratives of individuals who radicalized in the United States. Our results reveal that each of the four conceptual categories appeared to influence initial involvement; however, no single mechanism described involvement in criminal groups or differentiated involvement across the gangs and extremist groups.
Becker, Michael, Scott Decker, Gary LaFree, David Pyrooz, Kyle Ernest and Patrick James. 2020. "A Comparative Study of Initial Involvement in Gangs and Political Extremism." Terrorism and Political Violence (October). https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09546553.2020.1828079