Title:YouthGAP: the youth gangs alternative project : an exploration of youth gangs in Edmonton.
Author(s):Ambler, Jacalyn|split|Mistry, Kavina
Subject:Youth – general
Publisher:Edmonton Social Planning Council
Place of Publication:Edmonton
Date of Publication:2009
The objective of YouthGAP is to detail the current trends of Edmonton gangs and to use that information to support appropriate and effective programs, services and policies.A great deal of information exists about the general phenomenon of youth gangs how they are formed, their activities, and the reasons youths join. As of 2003, there were reported to be 484 youth gangs in Canada with an estimated 6760 members (Wortley & Tanner, 2007). Any youth can be susceptible to youth gang involvement – members are recruited fairly young on average, with an estimated 48% of members under the age of 16. Approximately 25% of youth gang members in Canada are African American and 22% are First Nations, with the remaining 53% composed of various other ethnic groups, including an estimated 18% or more Caucasian members (Mellor et al., 2005).Unfortunately, less specific information is available about the existence and demographics of youth gangs in Edmonton. The first comprehensive survey on youth gang populations in Canada was not conducted until 2002; according to this, Albertas gang activity lags far behind other western provinces(National Crime Prevention Center, 2007, Youth Gangs in Canada). As a result, energies have not been focused on investigating this phenomenon as thoroughly as in other major cities, despite the fact that it remains a major problem in Edmonton. This study draws on existing resources about youth gangs in Canada as well as interviews with representatives of Edmonton service providers working actively with at-risk and gang affiliated youth. There is currently a great deal of work being done by this city’s stakeholder groups to understand the youth gang issue and to react to it with appropriate and effective programs, services, and policies.