The best anti-gang efforts begin with partnerships between parents, schools, law enforcement, community organizations and youth.
To help keep youth away from gang life, the Province is sharing important prevention information with parents and communities as part of Crime Prevention Week (Nov. 1-7).
What is a gang?
- A visible group of three or more persons that plans and carries out crime for profit.
- Members may identify themselves with a common name, symbols, colours, signs, graffiti, clothing brands and tattoos.
- Gang involvement is extremely dynamic and can range from small street-level groups to large organized crime groups.
The reasons youth join a gang can include a desire for power, prestige, protection, and a sense of belonging. Traditional risk factors include poverty, family and school difficulties, drug use and dealing, involvement in violence and vandalism.
However, non-traditional risk factors are now apparent among some relatively affluent, culturally diverse youth. They often believe being in a gang will improve their status and provide financial rewards. But gang life is extremely dangerous. Between 2006 and March 2014, there were 160 gang-related homicides in B.C.
As a parent, you can help your child stay away from gang life by:
- Spending quality time with your child.
- Encouraging open and honest communication.
- Talking to your child about healthy relationships.
As a community member, you can:
- Build open, trusting relationships with the young people in your life.
- Support and become involved in positive youth development programs.
- Engage with children or youth you know who seem disengaged or troubled.
To learn more about preventing youth involvement in gangs, visit the Ministry of Justice online at: http://www.pssg.gov.bc.ca/crimeprevention/gangs/
The Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit BC also has anti-gang resources for parents: http://www.endganglife.ca
For more tips and safety information, contact the BC Crime Prevention Association at 604 501-9222, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://www.bccpa.org
To find out more about new regulatory changes under the Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA) to discourage youth from joining gangs and engaging in criminal activity, go to: http://ow.ly/DEgSB
Ministry of Justice
Government Communications and Public