Gangs Research Paper

Gangs Research Paper-79
Theoretical and empirical research and evaluation efforts continue with the goal of better understanding and responding to this issue.

Theoretical and empirical research and evaluation efforts continue with the goal of better understanding and responding to this issue.Advances have been made in defining the nature of youth gangs and their activities, the motivations for joining, and the risk and protective factors that influence involvement in a gang lifestyle.

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In general, youth gang members account for a large amount of criminal behaviour and a variety of criminal offences have been consistently linked to gang membership including property offences, drug trafficking and importation, fraud, robberies, assaults with weapons, homicides, and the trafficking of women and girls (Boyce & Cotter, 2013; Gilman, Hill, Hawkins, Howell, & Kosterman, 2014).

An indication of the nature of the crime and violence perpetrated by youth in Canada, and youth gang members by extension, is reflected in recent national statistics.

Public Safety Canada continues to support effective youth gang prevention and intervention strategies that are known to work based on empirical evidence and lessons learned from past implementation and evaluation experiences.

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Public Safety Canada. The first recorded work on gangs in Canada was a study of juveniles in street gangs in Toronto by Kenneth H. Since that time, many research and evaluation studies have been added to this growing field.

No matter what criteria are employed, caution should be taken when defining a youth gang and gang involvement.

There are risks associated with classification, namely stereotyping and maltreatment that may occur once a youth is identified as a 'gang member' (Henry, 2009).So, while researchers, evaluators and practitioners in the area may need to define 'youth gang', it is also important to be aware of the possible consequences that a definition or label can have on the youth with whom they study or work.Much of the research literature suggests that gang affiliation often provides psychological, social and/or economic benefits, and that those who become involved with gangs do so to meet unfulfilled needs (Chettleburgh, 2007; Wortley & Tanner, 2006).Before discussing the issue of youth gang involvement in Canada, it is important to clarify what is meant by the term.Within and between academic, government and law enforcement communities there is a lack of a widely-agreed upon definition of 'youth gang'.The historical and demographic differences between the two countries as well as the differences in political culture suggest the importance of examining the gang issue in Canada from an independent standpoint (Ezeonu, 2014).To that end, this report uses Canadian research and resources as much as possible.As a whole, youth aged 12 to 17 and young adults aged 18 to 24 accounted for over a third of individuals accused in police-reported criminal incidents in Canada in 2014.The majority of youth accused in some of the most serious offences were co-offenders.Instead of providing a precise definition here, some general criteria that can be taken into consideration are offered (Mohammed, 2007; Sánchez-Jankowski, 2003; Wortley 2010): In the above respects, youth gangs are similar to other social groups.One widely used benchmark for assessing whether a given social group is a 'youth gang' is the engagement by group members in delinquent or criminal behaviour, some of which may involve violence (as well as fear and intimidation), on a regular basis (Wortley, 2010).


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