AffiliationUniversity of Bedfordshire
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AbstractDrawing upon research undertaken by the present author in East, North West and South London and the work of other UK social scientists, this article considers the evidence concerning the involvement of young people of African-Caribbean origin and Mixed Heritage in street gangs and gang crime in London (For the sake of brevity, I will simply refer to these young people as Black, not least because this is how they usually define themselves). It outlines the sometimes acrimonious debate about the relationship between race, crime and street gangs in the United Kingdom in the past three decades, concluding that while many of the claims made about this relationship may be exaggerated or simply untrue, the evidence for the over-representation of Black young people in street gangs in London is compelling. The article then turns to the changing social and economic predicament of some Black young people in the capital since the 1980s and its relationship with their involvement in gang crime. Finally, it considers the role of drugs business in the proliferation of the gang form and ‘gangsta’ culture and the involvement of growing numbers of younger Black people in County Lines drug dealing.
CitationPitts J (2020) 'Black young people and gang involvement in London', Youth Justice, 20 (1-2), pp.146-158.