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gang

a group of persons, usually youths, who share a common identity and who generally engage in criminal behaviour. In contrast to the criminal behaviour of other youths, the activities of gangs are characterized by some level of organization and continuity over time. There is no consensus on the exact definition of a gang, however, and scholars have debated whether the definition should expressly include involvement in crime. Some gangs, but not all, have strong leadership, formalized rules, and extensive use of common identifying symbols. Many gangs associate themselves with a particular geographic area or type of crime, and some use graffiti as a form of nonverbal communication

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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