Learn about two distinct pathways to youth gang involvement and violence as well as recommendations for what can be done to address and prevent this community safety issue.

Altering Pathways to Youth Gang Involvement and Violence

Several recommendations to address and prevent gang violence were put forward by the Mayor’s Task Force on Gang Violence Prevention. One resulting initiative involved the City of Surrey securing one-time funding from Public Safety Canada.

The funding we received allowed us to research ways to disrupt pathways to gang involvement and serious violence in Surrey. It was applied to the Altering Pathways to Youth Gang Involvement and Violence project, in which Simon Fraser University researchers explored two distinct pathways to gang involvement.

Correctional Pathway

This pathway’s goal was to provide the Criminal Justice System with a model for coding social networks. The purpose of which is to identify individuals who are most likely to commit violence or become a victim of violence. The model will also explore how to use this knowledge for targeted prevention efforts.

Social network analysis may be a useful way to identify youth who attract and spread conflict, whether gang-involved or not. Since sharing the research, British Columbia Corrections hosted a forum in Surrey where correctional facility wardens explored the findings with researchers.

Community Pathway

This pathway’s goal was to underscore that preventing and intervening with children and youth at risk of gang involvement requires a multi-faceted approach. The approach should look at various types of risk factors to determine the services that children, youth, and their families need.

Researchers outlined six potential pathways to youth gang involvement. They also suggested a seventh to be further examined. Related to the findings, the Children and Youth At-Risk Table has enhanced Surrey service provider consistency in collecting risk and protective factors. These factors are key to tailoring effective gang intervention strategies.

Read the full Altering Pathways research report.