Youths in gangs on the Cape Flats: If not gangs, then what?
van der Westhuizen, Marichen
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Gangs are social groups within geographical territories that use symbols, verbal and non-verbal communication to express their belonging to the group, and resort to crime to exercise power and control over the territory in which they operate (De Wet, 2016; Cooper & Ward, 2012). They are formed to claim control over a specific market, such as illegal substances, in a specific territory. Activities are organised through leadership structures and an internal organisation of roles and responsibilities for gang members. Criteria for the functioning of gangs in general include a command structure, exerting power over a territory and its inhabitants and its resources, and use of armed violence. The above criteria are also applicable to youth gangs (Cooper & Ward, 2012).