News & Information

Legalizing Gangs

Top of Mind with Julie Rose
  • Aug 16, 2021 8:00 pm
  • 20:27

Toward the end of the 2000s, murders and gang violence was escalating in Ecuador, so the government did the exact opposite of what you might expect. Rather than cracking down harder on gang activity, Ecuador gave the nation’s largest gangs a chance to go legit as organizations with a voice in local politics. A decade later, murders are way down in Ecuador. Could something similar work in the US? David Brotherton is a professor of sociology and criminology at the City University of New York. He and a research team interviewed dozens of former gang leaders, public officials, and police officers in Ecuador to understand how the gang legalization process worked. (Segment produced by Abby Haralson)