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SOC 3750 (282)

Chapter 11.docx

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SOC 3750
Bill O' Grady

Chapter 11 Hard to say how many gangs there are in Canada for 2 reasons: 1. no commonly accepted definition of a gang 2. levels of funding are in part dependent on how large the gang problem is • hard to get a list of gang names and members because both are always changing • Western Canada has a higher violent crime rate and gang activity than Eastern Canada (due to pockets of high crime areas like Vancouver - more young men, dropouts, high poverty, drug dealing) • most gangs are based in ethnically marginalized neighborhoods and on reserves The Maritimes • Nova Scotia roughly 10 gangs • sex trade, prostitution, and trafficking of young women most common Quebec • roughly 50 known games (mostly Haitian, Jamaican, or Hispanic-based) • most gangs are in Montreal area Ontario • roughly 180 known gangs, 80 in the GTA and 95 in York and other major cities throughout Ontario • handful are criminally sophisticated, highly organized, linked to groups in other parts of Canada Manitoba • roughly 25 street gangs, majority aboriginal • mainly in Winnipeg area Saskatchewan • roughly 20 street gangs, almost all aboriginal Alberta • roughly 30 gangs British Columbia • roughly 30 gangs, most in the lower mainland NWT • very little gang activity, although some Alberta gangs have migrated north due to the lucrative drug trade Street Gangs: visible, hard core groups that come together for profit-driven criminal activity and often severe violence. They use gang related communication rituals and public displays of gang-like attributes (ex. tattoos) Canadian model that allows for a general typology that can be applied and adapted to identify specific types of gangs Degree of organization in a gang is defined by the following: • the gangs structure and hierarchal nature • the gangs connection to larger, more serious organized crime groups • the sophistication and permanence • the existence of a specific code of conduct or set of formal rules • the gangs initiation practices • the level of integration, cohesion, and solidarity among the gangs members SEE DIAGRAM PAGE 257 Characteristics of Street Gang: • almost all youth gang members in Canada belong to street gangs • involved in serious crime and violence- differentiates gangs from non-criminal youth groups • some stability over time, membership is not fluid • typically claim an area/turf which they protect from rival gangs (may be housing project or an area of drug distribution) • members identify themselves through a common name, symbols, colours, signs, graffiti, clothing style, bandanas, hats • rely on violent entry and exit rituals to protect the gang from outsiders • marginalize ethnic and racial minorities including aboriginal youth dominate membership. while some gangs have members mainly from a single ethnic group, an increasing number of multi-ethnic membership • one key factor that differentiates those who become gang-involved from those who do not is the experience of severe poverty • drug and alcohol abuse is common Characteristics of Mid-level Gangs: • can be multi-ethnic (although some groups in the prairie provinces are strictly aboriginals) • members come from different socio-economic backgrounds (aboriginal and African have lived in extreme poverty) • these gangs are frequently rooted in school, justice, and child-welfare settings- family blood lines and neighborhoods are important • compared to organized crime groups, mid-level gangs are made up of unstructured smaller groups or cells • like street gangs, relationships with other groups are fluid and opportunistic- often organized around lucrative criminal opportunities • these gangs are involved in serious crimes: extortion, kidnapping, drug dealing and smuggling, homicide, and extreme violence • violence is often initiated in response to perceived threats from other groups, whether real or not • members rely on violent entry and exit rituals to protect the gang from outsiders • mid-level gangs are frequently sophisticated and disciplined Characteristics of Organized Crime Groups • rare for teens to be involved in these organizations • highly structured and hierarchal, modeled after successful companies • have flourished over time and are recognized, feared, and respected • membership is exclusive and is based on family, race, and ethnicity • they are complex enterprises with rules, by-laws, and constitutions Who is involved in street gangs? • there is not often ONE leader but the older members have more influence compares to the younger • leaders actively promote and participate in serious criminal activity • leaders are usually mid 20’s to early 30s • leaders are responsible for settling conflict within the gang (usually conflict because of friendships between members of gang and rival gangs) • wannabees/ posers, followed by new recruits are on the outside at high risk of being victimized but looking for a sense of belonging and family Wannabees/ Posers Characteristics • mimic tattoos, hand signals, dress • often use violence to demonstrate worthiness • frequently victimized by legitimate gang members SEE DIAGRAM PAGE 259 Primary Activities of Street Gangs 1. Hanging out (food, shelter, partying) • heavy drug and alcohol use • often withdrawal from mainstream social interaction 2. Making profit from serious crime • street gangs generally prey upon communities in which they reside through threats, violence, and intimidation • the frequency and seriousness of violence and crime escalate over time, and by intimidating witnesses to their criminal activities, gang members enhance their status and increase their control over community residents and rivals 3. Engaging in severe violence • violence within and between gangs is associated with gaining status and reputation • violence often occurs over insignificant stuff that rival gang members see disrespectful Distinguishing Characteristics of Gangs 1. Hand signals and dress • example are the Crips and the Bloods (Crips use the colour blue, Bloods use the colour red) • some gang related hand signals are similar to non-gang related signals which can cause confusion and at times victimization 2. Tattoos • most gang members have several tattoos especially if they have spent time in jail, young offenders facilities, and prison • tattoos represent one or more symbols that the gang has adopted as something unique to represent the gang • also worn and used for intimidation • violent gangs usually have the name of the gang tattooed in large bold letter • wearing an unauthorized tattoo typically results in the wearer being beaten or killed • crosses between knuckles on both hands are meant to show number of years served in federal facilities • three dots (or cigarette burns) forming a triangle (near thumb, wrist, or eye) stands for ‘mi vida loca’ ‘my crazy life’ • tear drop near eye means that gang member has killed a rival, has had a member of his or her family or gang killed, or has served time Gang Recruitment and Exit • some recruitment is by choice others is not • for youth who grow up in communities characterized by high unemployment, entrenched poverty, and violence, gang involvement is a good choice • gangs can also serve as a shelter to youth, a way to fight back at social injustice • recruitment refers to the process by which youth is brought into a gang or how they gain access to gangs • gender plays a crucial role, many women are ‘sexed’ in ‘raped in’ where they are forced to do sexual things on gang members Before a recruit is allowed entry into the gang she or he is often required to pass 3 initial tests: 1. perform a series of criminal acts called ‘strikes’ at the direction of superiors in the gang to prove their loyalty 2. produce ‘paperwork’ (a copy of their criminal record) to members of the gang 3. endure a beating from the other gang members to prove their strength and loyalty (this is called ‘beating in’ ‘jumping in’ or ‘boot-fucking’) • leaving is just as difficult, if not more than entering Methods of leaving can involve 1. blood out: ‘doing minutes’ (suffering a beating) at the hands of a couple of gang members 2. gang rape: being sexually assaulted by multiple gang members 3. getting pregnant, having kids or getting married: many gangs purport to have honourable and romantic ideals, including permitting members to leave in order to start their families 4. gang exit program: joining a comprehensive program that supports leaving the gang. this can be dangerous because higher-ups do not want you to leave 5. death: unfortunately, being killed or committing suicide is a common way to end gang membership Legislation and Official Response to Gangs • Bill C-24 is the only bill in the Criminal Code of Canada related to crimes committed by gangs and organized crime groups • legal name for ‘gangs’ is ‘criminal organizations’ Bill C-24: • is composed of 3 or more persons • has, as one of its main purposes or main activities, the facilitation or commission of one or more serious offenses that, if committed, would likely result in the direct or indirect receipt of a material benefit, including a financial benefit, by the group or by any one of the persons who constitute the group Courts look at (in terms of deciding if a criminal organization): • if accused uses a name, word
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