Youth gangs in North American society are nothing new. When we turn on the news we often hear stories of misguided youth contributing to yet another gang related crime. Even though it is known that youth crimes are overrepresented in the media today, the subject of youth gang activity is quite a predicament to our society. Over the last few years, there has been a moral panic created by constant exposure to the media which portrays a great amount of youth crimes and violence. In Canada there are large urban cities with high proportions of young people, many of which live in poverty, that now have the issue of dealing with youth gangs and youth crimes. Toronto, British Columbia, and Ottawa are examples of Canadian cities that have
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This also creates a discrepancy within statistics due to the fact that there is an excess of unreported crimes. "Most gang-related crimes extortion, intimidation, assaults are never reported. Fear breads silence." If a person was to look at crime rate statistics for youth gang crimes, they would not get an accurate number because the crime rate would be terribly underestimated. Statistics do not accurately show the extent of the problem because of the high percentage of unreported cases. "Police say those figures are misleading. Today's violence is not reported. It's no longer one-on-one. Teenagers are afraid to speak up. The gangs' strongest weapons are fear and intimidation. And their shield is their victims' frightened silence." Since the severity and the extent to which youth crimes are being perpetrated is rising, but their traceability is decreasing, policy initiatives need to be taken that will address this growing problem. Fear is what allows gangs to persist within communities. The increase of coercive power amongst youths has created an urgent need for youth gangs to be addressed with more vigour in both preventative and punishing incentives. The trend change in the relative power of youth gangs has created a need for them to be taken more seriously.
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