Latin American Street Gangs in Catalonia and Their Delinquency

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The increased influx of immigrants from the countries of Latin America to the autonomous Spanish community of Catalonia had a considerable impact on its young people. This phenomenon filled city streets with groups of young migrants characterized by specific outfits and manners. Some groups of young migrants adopted the names of notorious criminal gangs from Central and North America and developed collective schemes of deviant behavior. The Catalonian police, together with mass media, view these groups as youth street gangs because they use certain symbols, have an organizational structure and are directly involved in criminal behavior in public places. According to the Catalonian police reports, the activities of Latin American street gangs is a greater danger to public safety than the activities of other deviant street groups. The detention level of Latin American gang members, as well as their delinquent activities, are rather high. The immigrant component of street gangs is emphasized and they begin to be viewed as a type of organized crime. The author analyzes the position of Latin American gangs in Catalonia, the condition of their delinquency and criticizes the simplified approach to researching them. He stresses changes in the ethnic component of Latin American gangs and highlights the selective approach in the work of the law enforcement, which may distort the understanding of the actual picture of delinquency. The article points out that the goals and specific characteristics of delinquency of Latin American gangs in Catalonia do not allow them to be viewed as organized crime ​
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