Helms School of Government


Doctor of Philosophy in Criminal Justice (PhD)


Sean Grier


Civil gang injunctions, gang violence, intervention strategies, lived experiences, hermeneutic, phenomenology


Legal Studies


This hermeneutic phenomenological study aimed to assess the general effectiveness of civil gang injunctions based on community members' perceptions of their safety in Los Angeles County, California. The theory that served as the foundation for this study was social disorganization, as interpreted by Shaw and McKay (1972). It helped to gauge how well community members understood their lived experiences and perceived the effects of injunctions on their safety. The following question guided this study: Do local citizens believe communities are safer and more secure when civil gang injunctions are used? Eight community members from two Los County cities were chosen using a purposeful criterion and snowball sampling. One-on-one semistructured interviews were used to collect the data, and the researcher maintained reflective memos in the data analysis. The answer to the research question was both yes and no, and the application of social disorganization theory was both confirmed and disconfirmed. Safer neighborhoods served as confirmation of the social disorganization theory. Disconfirming the theory was indicated by gangs involved internal and external disruption: disturbing gang relationships with the community and other gangs, and disrupting gang culture and family ties. The findings also revealed that CGIs should not have an unlimited term because people can change, and those placed on CGIs are hampered access to meaningful employment.

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