GAV Resources

GAV's approach to its work is evidence-based. Below you will find a number of resources that aid and underpin our work in the community.

Gangs and Gang violence


How Gangs Work: An Ethnography of Youth Violence

St Antony's Series

James A. Densley. 2016

Drawing on extensive interviews with gang members, this book provides a vivid portrayal of gang life. Topics include 
the profiles and motivations of gang members; the processes of gang evolution, organization, and recruitment; gang members' uses of violence, media, and technology and the role of gangs in the drugs trade and organized crime.

James’s website is at:



The Street Casino: Survival in Violent Street Gangs

Simon Harding. 2014


Gang violence is on the increase in certain neighbourhoods. There is an urgent need for a fresh perspective that offers insight into gang structure, organisation and offending behaviour to explain this increase. Using the findings from an extensive ethnographic study of local residents, professionals and gang members in south London, and drawing on his vast experience and knowledge of the field, Simon Harding proposes a unique theoretical perspective on survival in violent street gangs.



County Lines

Exploitation and Drug Dealing among Urban Street Gangs

Bristol University Press

Simon Harding 2020

Described by the National Crime Agency as a ‘significant threat’, county lines involve gangs recruiting vulnerable youth to sell drugs in provincial areas. This phenomenon has impacted local drug markets, increasing criminal activity and violence. Exploring how county lines evolve, Harding reveals extensive criminal exploitation and control in the daily ‘grind’ to sell drugs. Drawing upon extensive interviews and case studies, this timely book gives voice to users and dealers, providing an in-depth analysis of techniques, relationships and ‘trapping’. With county lines now a critical issue for policing and government, this is an invaluable contribution to literature on gangs, youth violence and drugs.


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'Going Viral' and 'Going country': the expressive and instrumental activities of street gangs on social media

Journal of Youth Studies.

Michelle L. Storrod & James A. Densley. 2017

The current study explores expressive and instrumental uses of the internet among street gangs. ‘Trap rap’ videos posted on YouTube and orientated around life as a drug dealer are identified as the ultimate cultural artifact for denoting London, UK, gang culture.


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Psychology of Violence

Growing Against Gangs and Violence: Findings From a Process and Outcome Evaluation James A. Densley, Joanna R. Adler, Lijun Zhu, and Mackenzie Lambine Online First Publication, April 14, 2016

The present study assesses program efficacy of Growing Against Gangs and Violence (GAGV), a primary prevention partnership with the U.K. Metropolitan Police Service (MPS), delivered in London schools with the aim of reducing gang involvement, delinquency, and violent offending and improving young people’s confidence in police


Violence in the age of social media