Gang 's In Canada
Gang involvement and its violent crime have become a growing problem for Canada. Generally gangs consist of young people of the same ethnic, racial, and econom ic background. Usually of a low economic status, these gangs take part in illegal money making activities and have conflict with rival gangs with violent history as well . Gang members exemplify a high value for group loyalty and sacrifice.  Gangs often target youth when recruiting new members, with the average age of initiation being 13 years old (Omizo, Omizo, and Honda). A personal interview with police gang specialist, Rob Geis, revealed that the rapid growth of gangs is resulting in recruitment at shockingly young ages. The youth are easily enticed by gangs for a number of reasons. Availability of guns and drugs, a lack of education and good parenting, and economic and financial status all contribute to the problem of youth gang involvement (Rob Geis, Personal Interview). Youth begin to realize if they have a low socioeconomic status, and feel pressured to find a way to better their economic situations. Gangs offer a solution to economic stress. Immigrants who come to America to make money to send back to family members "often cannot find work, and exhausted, they realize the easiest thing to do is to sell drugs" (Bazan, Harris, and Lorentzen 380). Drug sales often occur in areas of gang activity. In order to participate in drug sales, it is necessary to join the gang that controls the area. This way an individual's protection and safety ensured. Famil y dissention is another reason some adolescents turn to gangs. They are in search of an escape, and sense of family. Bazan, Harris and Lorentzen interviewed ex gang member Susanna who explains, " For years the gang was her ‘real' family, given the disintegration and lack of stability she found in her biological family" (Bazan, Harris, and Lorentzen 380). Power seekers are also drawn to gang life, which tend to commit crimes that victimize others. One ex-gang member, Lupita explains that she "liked belonging to a gang because people recognized her power and they respected her" (Bazan, Harris, and Lorentzen 380). Gang members use deceptive tactics to prey on the youth by promising protection, acceptance, power, and material wealth. Joining a gang seems to be the best option for disadvantaged youth because it gives them what they are longing for. However, this comes at a price.  Gang involvement negatively affects the quality of life of the involved youth and surrounding communities. The criminal activities and violence surrounding gang membership often lead to imprisonment and death. Gang involvement discourages personal upward in life. Although non-gang members may also participate in risky activities like binge drinking, marijuana use, and drug selling, gang affiliation greatly increases exposure and likelihood to partake in these activities. Studies show that "early alcohol use and early marijuana use are both identified risk factors for joining a gang among adolescents" (Swahn et. al 354). Youth gang members are also exposed to hard drugs because of gang involvement in the illegal drug market. Many youth gang members in these situations fall subject to drug abuse and addiction. Gang's excessive alcohol consumption can lead to drunk driving, which puts nearby citizens in danger. In addition, the presence of drugs in a neighborhood creates an unsafe environment for individuals to live in, due to the unpredictable and volatile nature of drug business and deals.  Gang members are proven to commit the majority of violent crimes seen in prison systems across the country. Kendall explains that "gang are sophisticated and well organized; all use violence to control their neighborhoods and boost their illegal money making activities" (Kendall 198). The members' strong sense of loyalty toward their gang leads them to commit vicious criminal acts against those threatening their way of life. In order to stay dominant, a gang must be willing to act with violence and callous. Lower members in gang hierarchy, usually youth, who have recently been initiated, are required to prove their loyalty through various criminal acts, such as killing a rival gang member. Other gang committed crimes work to aid growth and status. Alien smuggling, armed robbery, assault, auto theft,