Gang Investigator's Handbook

A Law-Enforcement Guide to Identifying and Combating Violent Street Gangs

by Matthew David O'Deane, Ph.D.


336 pages, 8.5" x 11"
photos, illust.

  • Description
  • Author Bio
Street gangs, prison gangs and biker gangs -- made up of every kind of criminal, from vandals and drug dealers to the most violent predators -- present an especially difficult problem for law enforcement. Gang Investigator's Handbook is a comprehensive guide to combating these dangerous groups, based on the successes of many of the best gang detectives in the field.

Written by an experienced gang investigator from a major metropolitan prosecutor's office, Gang Investigator's Handbook contains dozens of strategies and tips for identifying and suppressing gangs in any community. It provides comprehensive information on:
  • typical characteristics of Hispanic, African-American, white, Asian, prison, biker and female gangs
  • interpreting such common gang identifiers as tattoos, graffiti, hand signs and clothing
  • conducting gang crime investigations, including making contacts with gangbangers on the streets, interviewing them in the field and in custody, and recruiting and managing informants
  • implementing such enforcement tactics as daily patrol suppression, gang sweeps, wiretaps, narcotic operations and one of the most amazing tools in the law-enforcement arsenal: the gang injunction

The text is supported by more than 400 photos with detailed analysis of the gang activity they document, making Gang Investigator's Handbook invaluable not only to street cops, specialized gang units and prosecutors but also to criminal justice students, probation and parole agents, corrections officers, judges, counselors, civic leaders, journalists and ordinary citizens who want to learn how to reduce gang activity in their communities.
Matthew O'Deane has been a California police officer since 1992, and over half of that time he has been tasked with targeting gangs. He worked for the National City Police Department for 10 years before moving to the San Diego District Attorney's Office, where he has served in the Gang Prosecution Unit since 2002. He earned his Ph.D. in public policy, master's degree in public administration and bachelor's degree in criminal justice. O'Deane has investigated hundreds of serious gang crimes, including more than 40 gang-related murders, and continues to investigate and research gangs on a daily basis.