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Lecture 7

Sociology 2105A/B Lecture Notes - Lecture 7: Gang Signal, Mississippi Highway 13, Anger Management


Department
Sociology
Course Code
SOC 2105A/B
Professor
Georgios Fthenos
Lecture
7

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Gang Involved Youth in Canada
November 4th, 2014
Gang Involved Youth in Canada
To understand and address youth involvement in gangs, we must examine pathways into and out
of gang life
Majority of research on gang involvement trends to be qualitative in nature – provides better
understanding of members
Difficult to administer quantitative research since the act is illegal, difficult to find accurate data on
the actual number of gangs in Canada
Police based estimates are likely inflated
oNo commonly accepted definition of a gang (no cohesion in understanding)
oLevels of funding are in part dependent on how large gang problem is
Lack of academic research focusing on prevalence across the country
oOften difficult to gain access to the group of interest – need a gatekeeper
oGangs might not be willing to share experiences
Low level street gangs in a state of constant flux-- members may get arrested, gang disperses
Found in all provinces and territories
There are few interprovincial gangs and transnational gangs that are criminally sophisticated and
highly organized
oIP Gang, NS Gang, are interprovincial
oSome gangs are exclusive to ethnic minorities – Crazy Dragon Gang
oTransnational – 18th Street Gang, MS 13 Gang
oMajority of gangs tend to be local
Higher gang activity in Western Canada
Most gangs in Ontario – particularly in the GTA
Very little gang activity in the Northwest Territories/Nunavut/Yukon -- (little research on it-- difficult
to measure prevalence due to dispersion)
Gang Typology in Canada
Gang involvement in Canada exists on a continuum
Degree of organization is defined by
oGang's structure and hierarchical nation (complex/sophisticated?)
oGang's connection to larger, more serious organized crime groups
(transnational/interprovincial?)
oGang's sophistication and permanence (how long has it existed?)
oExistence of specific codes of conduct or set of formal rules
oGang's initiation practices
oLevel of integration, cohesion and solidarity among gang members
Used to determine what level the gang is (low level, mid level, full-fledged/organized crime
groups)
Level of sophistication, structure and organization increases as you move up the pyramid
oSo do age, profits, longevity and intentionally of violence
Majority of youth gangs are low level street gangs
Street Gangs
Involved in serious crime and violence (e.g. Defending one's "turf", retribution against opposite
gang)
Some stability over time but membership is relatively fluid
Claim area/turf which they protect from other gangs
Members identify themselves through common names, symbols, colours, signs, graffiti, clothing
Rely on violent entry and exit rituals
Marginalized ethnic and racial minorities dominate membership
The experience of severe poverty is shared by members
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