The Ripple Effect: Shifting the Focus on Gangs
Canada alone has approximately 434 major youth gangs, with roughly 7,000 members nationally, 94% of those members are male and 48% of those males are under the age of 18. These young Canadians are all just drops in the ocean of Canada, but as time progresses these drops are turning to puddles. According to UN estimates, by the year 2020, half of the world’s urban population will live in poverty (Cohen), a main contributing factor of gangs and gang violence in Canada. Many gang members come from broken homes, many of those who wind up in gangs are doing drugs, drinking, and smoking, committing crimes, and committing violence. Many of the members consider their fellow gang members "family”, while some of the gangs actually do have real family members within them. We as a society must recognize the contributing factors toward the forming of and recruitment for gangs. To effectively curb gang violence, the focus needs to be shifted to the social and economic factors that contribute to the growth of gangs.
Many feel that if harsher punishments are implemented then the increasing number of gangs would disappear; as though these harsh punishments would scare members away from partaking in violent gangs. The Gang Prevention and Deterrence Act was presented by Sen. Orrin Hatch and Diane Feinstein in October of 2003 in the United States. The Act stated an increase in funding for the federal prosecutors and FBI agents, needed in order to conduct coordinated enforcement efforts against violent gangs. The U.S government creating new gang-prosecution laws and methods is counter-productive. Many youth are not even afraid of being imprisoned; they are taught that going to jail is not a big deal and most of them already have relatives who are incarcerated anyway, so what’s to fear. If the government put that money into rehabilitation and gang prevention programs it would be of better use. There could be a...
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