The Knoxville News Sentinel interviewed Robert Durán, assistant professor of sociology, for a story about the reasons that drive Knoxville gang membership. Duran, who joined a street gang at 15 in Utah, noted that he was lured into it for the same reasons local teens join Knoxville gangs–lack of opportunity and a desire to belong.
The publication highlighted Duran’s research, which shows that Knoxville street gangs are involved in crime — robberies, assaults, drug sales — but unlike a drug cartel, they’re less likely to begin as well-connected criminal enterprises. More often, local gang members bond around a need for protection, he said, whether from real or perceived threats. “Most gangs are built locally,” Duran said. Read the story online.