Controversies around definitions and perceptions of gangs are heightened by the scarcity of research on crews. In an open-ended interview, 77 Latino 10th graders from a random longitudinal sample provided information about gangs and crews. Although less than 10% reported having been in gangs or crews, 84% reported having personal contact with them. Sixty three percent reported that gangs were more negative than crews. Crews tag and claim territory but do not have initiation rituals or engage in extreme violence. Although there were no significant gender differences, very low achievers had closer interactions and were more often asked to join gangs and crews. This study informs educators, juvenile justice personnel, and intervention programs how to distinguish and better serve these peer groups.
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