Youth Gang Violence
For some parents, educators, community members and even teen peers, youth gang-related violence seems to evade common sense.
It’s important to reject labeling such youth as “bad” kids by considering the underlying factors.
Gang participation can surface due to a perceived lack of alternative choices and available support.
In today’s gang culture, both girls and boys are considered valid targets for a variety of physical and sexual crimes and neither gender is considered off-limits for any “job” or harm.
Common characteristics of youth who become gang-involved (VPD):
- A strong desire for peer acceptance
- Poor academic performance
- Recent immigrant status
- Drug and alcohol use
- Lack of parental supervision
- Lack of positive role models
- Since 1990, over 115 young adults have lost their lives to gang violence in B.C.
- Approximately 434 youth gangs with 7,000 members nationally (RCMP, 2002)
- 2% increase in the national homicide rate in 2008 (Statistics Canada, 2009)
- Almost half of Canadian youth gang members are 17 years old or younger
- Females accounted for 12% of B.C.’s gang population in 2002
- There were1,027 youth gang members in B.C. in 2002 (RCMP)
- In 2008, 55 youth aged 12-17 and 170 aged 18-24 were accused of homicide in Canada.
The National Crime Prevention Centre (NCPC) of Public Safety Canada has more information about youth gangs in Canada.