Gangs Research Paper

While a precise measure of youth gang involvement and prevalence of their activities in Canada is not currently available, in the last number of years strides have been made in understanding affiliation among several key populations, namely Aboriginal youth, immigrant youth and young women.Greater insight into specific risk factors, pathways to involvement and desistance, and guidance for prevention and intervention efforts can assist in the future development of solutions to address youth gang involvement and gang-related activities in Canada. Wiley Online Library requires cookies for authentication and use of other site features; therefore, cookies must be enabled to browse the site.Detailed information on how Wiley uses cookies can be found in our Privacy Policy.In its most basic form, it is a group of young people who act out in antisocial or delinquent ways and/or is based on involvement in some form of criminal activity usually in an effort to gain from it as a group, whether financially, socially or territorially (Centre for Forensic Behavioural Science and Justice Studies, 2015).While there are similarities in the basic causes and processes of gang formation that characterize gang membership across Canada, the specific form the group takes depends in part on the region of the country in which it is located (Grekul & La Boucane-Benson, 2008).This publication also highlights information on specific risk factors, pathways to involvement and desistance, and guidance on prevention and intervention efforts for these groups.

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.The majority of the theoretical knowledge and empirical work on youth gangs has come from the United States.Although there are advantages in learning from the American experience, there is a danger in assuming that the cause(s) and structure of gangs are the same in the United States and in Canada. 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.Further, a clear, concise definition of 'youth gang' is needed in the context of the development, implementation and evaluation of prevention and intervention initiatives.This allows us to better focus our efforts by setting aside other criminal offenders and youth groups that infrequently participate in criminal activity (Klein & Maxson, 2006) and to properly tailor strategies targeting those at risk of and involved in youth gangs.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).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.

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