Young Thugs: Inside the Dangerous World of Canadian Street Gangs

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Young Thugs. A simple title for a book filled with a plethora of complex social issues. Written in 2007 by Michael C. Chettleburgh, Young Thugs received critical acclaim and was runner up of the (2007) Donner Book Prize, in recognition of the best Canadian book on public policy. Chettleburg is a recognized North American street gang, organized crime and criminal justice expert and President and CEO of Astwood Strategy Corporation, a criminal/social justice advisory and evaluation firm. Young Thugs takes an in depth look at the formation and the causes/appeal of youth street gangs, as well as how these gangs operate (in the accumulation of revenue) and finally it takes a look solutions to reduce the impact of gang life/culture on Canadian youth and communities. Chettleburg shows us that our perceptions of street gangs today, usually viewed through media outlets, is in vast contrast with recent analysis. He attempts to broaden our understanding of all the factors at play.

Chettleburg in one of the first chapters of Young Thugs explains some of the common socioeconomic issues that have a push/pull factor which are contributing factors why many young people (primarily male) join street gangs. “The decaying inner cities, institutionalized racism, poor police-community relations, extreme poverty or massive economic shifts that render the gang, in some youths clouded view, a viable option.” (Chettleburgh, Michael C. Young Thugs: Inside the dangerous world of Canadian street gangs pg.27) Chettleburgh takes an in depth and very intriguing look at the preceding causes of “gangsters and dissects them piece by piece Mainly he argues that misguided and poor government spending directly effects Canadian communities in terms of housing, social programs, and jobs, in turn creating huge gaps over time between rich and the poor communities. Chettleburgh argues that popular culture, self-help books on finance etc. are just small factors in our society that help to create...
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