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Nestor Vera Tata

Undergraduate Major: Undergraduate degree in Criminal Justice

Future Plans: Ph.D. in Criminal Justice

Nestor Vera Tata

Nestor Vera Tata was born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela until the age of fifteen. In 2004, he graduated from high school in Florida, and then moved to Spain for three years. He obtained an A.A. from Valencia Community College and is currently majoring in Criminal Justice with a minor in Psychology. Additionally, Nestor is completing three certificates in Criminal Profiling, Behavioral Forensics and Crime Scene Investigation. He is intrigued by research that interrelate criminological theories with actual crimes in society as well as, research in homicides, violence oppression and street gangs and international gangs. He plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Criminology and eventually become a professor at the university level.

Conducted at the University of California at Irvine as part of the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program and the UCF McNair Scholars Program

The Individual Motives that Cause Violence Within Gang Members and the lack of Social Support Networks that Drives Young Adults to Join Gangs
Mentor: George E. Tita, Ph.D.

Abstract: The purpose of this preliminary investigation is to demonstrate that the primary reason that juveniles join gangs is to build a social supportive network and that the violence related to criminal gangs occurs more for individual purposes than for gang motives. The beginning of this research was conducted by examining studies of existing gang models. The study identifies different elements in diverse street gangs. By recognizing these elements one can see what factors are repeating and what events can increase or decrease violence in urban gangs. Gangs promote violence as means of power in order to increase respect among their peers and advance in their group. Moreover, the use of violence resulted with more homicides, which are found principally in intraracial and intergang conflicts. Although scholars have studied the decline of crime since the 1990's, little is known about the decline of violence in recent years pertaining to criminal gangs. The amount of aggression resulting from a personal interest of a gang member, or from the gang as a group, also eludes acquired knowledge. We hypothesize that the principal motives tend to be individualistic more than gang related as a whole, regardless of whether conflicts are between different gangs or within the same gang. Furthermore, a mathematical model based on game theory will be utilized to assess whether violence is more of a product of rivalry between gangs or a particular member of a gang looking to elevate his individual profit or needs.