Gang neighborhood and youth criminal behavior
Ekhator, Uche Eseosa
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I examine the effect of the presence of gangs in a youth's neighborhood on criminal behavior in the United States using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997 (NLSY97) with a Multivariate Analysis of Covariance (MANCOVA) model. There is evidence that the presence of gangs in a youth's neighborhood affects youth arrests, delinquency and substance use taken together for youths born to mothers who are 30 years or older. The negative effect of gangs on incidences of delinquency is larger for youths born to teen mothers than for those whose mothers were 30 years or older when they were born. The reverse is however the case for substance use. Youths born to teen mothers and residing in neighborhoods where gangs are present are less likely to have incidences of substance use than their counterparts born to mothers who were 30 years or older. This result suggests that children from teen pregnancies are at higher risks of criminal behavior when gangs are present in their neighborhoods than children born to older mothers. Policies aiming to prevent criminal behavior for youths in gang neighborhoods should therefore focus more on youths born to teen mothers.