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Social Dynamics of Gang Involvement: A Mathematical Approach

Gangs have played a significant role in Chicago's social and political history, and continue to impact the city today, as gang violence rates continue to grow despite drops in overall crime. In this paper, we explore the dynamics of gang involvement between at-risk individuals, gang members, and reformed (temporarily removed) gang members. We focus on the effect that reformed gang members have on the at-risk population via a general function, which takes into account cost of gang membership and a threatening factor. We find that the influence of the reformed population is highly sensitive to initial gang member population size, and factors such as cost and recidivism rates play an important role in gang involvement in at-risk environments.

  • Poster session award recipient at the 2012 AMS/MAA Joint Mathematics Meeting in Boston, MA

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Joshua Austin, University of Maryland, Baltimore County
Emma Smith, Linfield College
Sowmya Srinivasan, Bryn Mawr College
Fabio Sanchez, Arizona State University