The purpose of this study is to examine how law enforcement identifies and responds to symbols of gang activity, including non-verbal communication. The method guiding this study is ethnographic interviews, which help the researcher get below the surface of an issue and explain responses in more depth than survey research. I interviewed nine law enforcement officials from a large city in the northeastern United States about their daily job routines and tasks, as well as how they identify gang activity. In my analysis, I explain the impact of gangs on the community, how officers identify gangs and gang activity, the resources they use to so, the policing strategies with which they use to respond to gang activity, and the most challenging aspect of working with gangs.


Bostdorff, Denise


Communication Studies


Criminology and Criminal Justice | Interpersonal and Small Group Communication


gang, gang activity, law enforcement, policing, non-verball communication

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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