Maturity Levels for Outlaw Groups: The Case of Hells Angels MC
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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McIntosh (2009) argues that from relatively humble beginnings, outlaw motorcycle gangs, such as the Hells Angels, Outlaws, Bandidos, Pagans, Sons of Silence, Mongols, Coffin Cheaters, Black Pistons and others have evolved into sophisticated organized crime syndicates responsible for a large portion of the global illicit drug and weapons trades. This evolvement into sophisticated organizations can be studied in terms of maturity levels over time. By application of stages of growth models with distinct characteristics of each maturity level, findings may suggest that different outlaw groups can be classified into different maturity levels. Maturity models such as the one for Hells Angels introduced in this article can serve several important purposes. First, general insights into evolution over time can be generated and communicated to decision-makers in society. Second, contingent approach to law enforcement implies that the police and other government agencies can apply appropriate measures depending on the maturity level of a specific outlaw motorcycle gang. Thus, law enforcement can distinguish approaches for fighting non-mature gangs versus mature gangs. By categorizing an organization according to its maturity level, appropriate strategies to fight it can be identified. Third, the evolution of gangs over time provides insights into the mechanisms that make gangs more and more dangerous and threatening to society.
This is the journal's final, accepted and refereed version of the article. The publication is available at http://www.pakistansocietyofcriminology.com/