Statistics show that street gangs have ever been eradicated once they establish firm roots in a community.
As always, the best thing to do is to think ahead and work on prevention.
We can keep street gangs out of our community, by getting involved. Crime Prevention is easy and doesn't cost a thing.
Here are a few simple steps to follow:
Contact Peel Regional Police about dangerous and/or illegal things you see. This might include:
- Houses or places with a high volume of either/both pedestrian or vehicular traffic at all hours of the day and night.
- Groups of persons using alcohol or other drugs
- Drug dealing
- Groups of persons carrying weapons
- Groups of persons controlling a specific neighbourhood
Contact Peel Regional Police, Crime Prevention Services at 905-453-2121 Ext. 4021, Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS(4877) or the graffiti hotline at 905-546-4723.
It is our responsibility!
Things we need to understand about street gangs
- Generally, gang members are young men in their twenties. Although they are few, there are some under the age of 18 and there are some young women.
- Some gangs are multicultural and others come from a single ethnic group.
- They gather around a strong leader and there is a definite chain of command.
- In the past, street gangs were mainly concentrated in large cities, but now they are spreading to smaller communities, rural areas and Aboriginal reserves.
- Mostly, street gangs focus on local crime such as drug dealing, robbery, stealing and selling guns or cars. As well, these gangs are often involved in the sex trade – street level prostitution and exotic dancing clubs. Some gangs will recruit women and children into the sex trade and ship them across the country, often using intimidation and abuse.
- Some street gangs go into more sophisticated crime, such as producing counterfeit goods and marihuana and other illegal drugs.
Things to remember:
- Gangs do not offer protection.
- Gang members are not loyal to the end. Your life is real world, not a movie.
- You do not get respect from being a gang member.
- You do not belong to something important when you are a gang member.
- If you choose to join a gang, you're cutting yourself from everything else.
Gang members - How do they look like?
Gang members often wear clothes and colours that identify them as being associated with one another. Things like a certain kind of bandana or a certain style of clothes. Sometimes they share unique hand gestures or use nick names chosen by gang members. But, more often you can tell a gang member by how he or she acts.
There are some exceptions, but usually gangs get started for one reason - to commit crimes such as break and enters or thefts from stores and businesses. Some gangs are involved in drugs, and some will make specific plans to hurt people.
Be careful! If you hang around with a gang member, chances are you will get involved in crime.
The big attraction
Kids often get involved in gangs at school because they want to feel as if they belong to something. Maybe things aren't going well at home, or maybe they have a hard time getting good grades.
Myths about gang life
Gang members are loyal to the end
In movies, gang members are portrayed as "brothers" who stick together no matter what. But in the real world, this is not always the case. Established gang members often "sell" newer members to other gangs because they are no longer useful to their gang.
When this happens, members are traded to a rival gang whether they want to be or not, for money, material possessions or drugs.
Gangs offer protection
Sometimes this is true. But more often than not, this will lead to more violent fights with rival gangs down the road. After all, those who protect you will look for the same in return. New members who are looking for protection from a bully or a bad situation usually have better success through other alternatives.
Gangs get respect
Gangs sometimes talk about getting respect, but what they are really talking about is fear. Obeying out of fear is not the same thing as looking up to someone because he or she is highly regarded.
Being a gang member means you belong to something important
Actually, when you make the choice to belong to a gang, you cut yourself off from everything else. You can't hang around with whoever you want anymore - the gang will dictate who your friends are. The gang will become your new "family," isolating you from your true family. And, if you get arrested for the crime you do, you could lose your freedom.
Friends as gang members
Some people think it's tough to hang with gang members, but at the same time, they think they won't get drawn into gang life. But where do you think new members come from?
Gang members will sometimes recruit new members by getting one person or a group of friends to go along on a crime. Once involved in one crime, the gang member will threaten to tell on the friend if he walks away. In other cases, a gang member will buy clothes or other possessions for someone, then expect payback by doing crime for the gang. Girls are not immune to being drawn into gang life. In some cases, girls are also lured into prostitution through gang involvement.
Source: Calgary Police