Youth Gang Violence

Dark portrait of a rage gangsterFor 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.