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Street Gangs and Criminal Business Organisations: A Canadian Perspective (From Gangs and Youth Subcultures: International Explorations, P 165-187 1998, Kayleen Hazlehurst and Cameron Hazlehurst, eds. -- See NCJ-180177)

NCJ Number
Robert M. Gordon
Date Published
23 pages
This article examines recent research projects on street gangs and criminal business organizations as social problems in Canada.
There is very little research addressing the topic of gangs from a Canadian perspective, despite emerging evidence that street gangs, criminal business organizations, and other similar groupings have been active in Canadian cities since well before the Second World War. Recent Canadian gang research has attempted to answer policy-related questions such as the extent to which Canadian gangs are dominated by members of visible ethnic minorities, and to examine the role of the news media in amplifying the street gang problem and creating a moral panic. Ethnicity is a relevant factor in understanding the Canadian street gang phenomenon, but when ethnicity is combined with immigrant status and socioeconomic status a more useful picture emerges. When these variables combine with limited language competency and a lack of marketable skills, the result is a variety of social and economic vulnerabilities, including poverty, family disintegration, an absence of supportive community networks and of legitimate, rewarding employment. The same factors that contribute to formation and continuation of street gangs are also involved in the maintenance of criminal business organizations, another serious concern of Canadian social welfare and criminal justice systems. References, notes