Gangs

Gang Related Activities Affect Everyone

They cause fear, destroy property, threaten community security and drive out businesses.

The gang problem affects all races, ethnicities, socioeconomic classes and neighbourhoods, including suburbs and rural areas. Studies show that prolonged involvement in gangs can wreak havoc on a child's life and development.

Luckily, there are many ways you can prevent gang problems in your community.

What does "gang" mean?

Any group of three (3) or more people, formally or informally organized, which may have a common name or identifying sign or sympol, who members individually or collectively engage in or have engaged primarily in street level criminal behavior, creating an atmosphere of fear and intimidation within the community.

Understand the gang allure

Street gangs provide the illusion of belonging, security and friendship, especially for teens who feel isolated because of their ethnic or cultural background. Many teens get caught up in the excitement of gang membership even when they are forced into violent, scary circumstances.

Watch out for these key characteristics:

  • Personal: low motivation and self-esteem, behaviour problems, poor peer relations, abuse of alcohol, illegal or prescription drugs
  • Family: stressful home life, generational gang membership, ineffective parenting, substance abuse at home
  • Community: lack of community support services and recreational facilities, high incidence of criminal activities, lack of youth employment opportunities
  • School: low expectations from teachers, negative school environment, lack of effective disciplinary system, lack of crisis intervention programs, class absences

"Gangs are a complex issue. They involve at-risk youth and men and women in organized crime groups. We know that a multifaceted solution that involves the entire community is the answer.  To that end, we as a community need to address the broader social factors at play.  Effective anti-gang efforts begin with partnerships among parents, schools, law enforcement, religious institutions, community organizations, businesses and youth. And to successfully address the gang phenomenon, we need to develop a comprehensive gang strategy, involving several components:  Early identification of at risk individuals, education, prevention, diversion, suppression, exit strategies and community involvement. " - Charles Bordeleau, Chief of Ottawa Police

What's our community doing about street gangs?