Outlaw Bikers and Patched Street Gangs: The Nexus Between Violence and Shadow Economy

Author: Bradley, C
Published in National Security Journal, 15 May 2020

The patched street gangs appear to take up a lot of media attention but detailed analysis of all the media reporting and court records would be needed to provide an accurate and informative picture of where patched gangs in Aotearoa New Zealand fit within Barkers typology. When Department of Corrections data in Aotearoa New Zealand is analysed, there is a clear picture of gang members listed among the national prison population (see Table 3). What is also evident is that gang numbers in prison are increasing. Such data does need to be analysed to determine which patched gangs make up the prison population and what crimes saw them imprisoned. The Department of Corrections are unusual in New Zealand with their ability to collect and supply data on outlaw bikers and patched street gangs. However, faced with not being able to access comparable data from other government departments on gangs beyond Corrections, researchers and policy makers risk making assessments or providing policy advice that lacks understanding of patched gangs in Aotearoa New Zealand missing the nuances of the gang/crime nexus.

NZ National Prison and Gang Populations 2011 to 2019NZ Prison and Gang Populations 2011 - 2019

Further research and access to criminal conviction data or police intelligence on outlaw bikers and patched street gangs in Aotearoa New Zealand will allow for some deeper understanding than currently exists around the position patched gangs hold in the shadow economy. Such analysis on outlaw bikers has been done in the Netherlands by Blokland et al in locating where each club sits on Barkers conservative/radical continuum.70 However, Blokland et al do provide a caveat that such an approach can be problematic given the fact that much crime is under-reported.71 A recent article by Lauchs applied a scientific approach to analysing