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Gang members have double the risk of crime

HUNTSVILLE, Texas, April 14 (UPI) -- Gang membership, contrary to conventional wisdom, does not offer protection from crime, in fact, it makes gang members more of a target, U.S. researchers say.

Study co-author Dr. Kate Fox of the College of Criminal Justice at Sam Houston State University says gang members are twice as likely as non-gang members to be crime victims.

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"Gang members were significantly more likely than non-gang members to be attacked without a weapon, attacked with a weapon, and targeted in drive-by-shootings," Fox says in a statement.

The researchers interviewed 217 adult inmates at a Texas prison -- 84 said they were gang members and 133 said they were not gang members.

More than 70 percent of gang members said they had been victimized, compared to 31.6 percent of inmates who said they were not gang members. More than 52 percent of the gang members say they were targeted by drive-by shooting, and only 4.5 percent of non-gang members saying they had been targeted.

Among gang members, 52.4 percent reported being attacked with a weapon, 31.1 percent said they were a victim of simple assault, while 29.5 percent of non-gang members reported an assault with a weapon and 12.8 percent said they had suffered a simple assault.

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