Calgary Gangs and the Alberta Gang Reduction Strategy
Five years ago, the Government of Alberta introduced the Alberta Gang Reduction Strategy, a program aimed at reducing gang membership by helping those who were at risk for gang involvement or who wished to leave gangs they were involved with and empowering both communities and law enforcement to better address gangs and gang-related crimes throughout Alberta.
At the time the program was defined, gang violence was still a significant problem in Calgary and in other parts of the province, and gang-related crimes including drug and weapons trafficking took up much of the Calgary Police Service's time. As the Gang Reduction Strategy was implemented, and as Calgary added its own programs to help prevent gang enlistment and make it easier for individuals in gangs to find a better way of life, gang presence and violence in Calgary have been dramatically increased.
The Reduction of Gang-Related Crimes in Calgary
Some of the success in gang reduction seen over the past five years is due to a few key arrests that have been made, which all but dismantled Calgary's two largest gangs. Broader authority for Calgary Police and law enforcement throughout Alberta, including some statutes that have raised objections from the legal community due to their ability for loose interpretation and a possible encroachment on civil liberties, have enabled a crackdown on gangs that makes it far more difficult for them to operate in Calgary's neighborhoods.
It seems likely, though, that more of the credit lays at the feet of the social programs that Alberta and, to an even greater degree, Calgary have engaged in when it comes to steering youths away from gangs and towards more safe and productive activities and associations. Programs that bring at-risk children and their families together with law enforcement officers and social workers, programs that provide safe places to play and study for Calgary youths, and an overall improvement to social awareness about the fundamental problems that cause gang affiliations and gang violence have all played a part in gang reduction.
Gang related crime still goes on in Calgary and other parts of the province, but it is more the result of under-served communities and misguided frustration than the orchestrated trafficking and violence of yesteryear. As Calgary continues to tackle the social problems that helped spawn its gangs in the first place, further reductions in gang-related crimes and overall gang membership can be expected.
Calgary Criminal Defence and Gang Lawyer
If you or a loved one has been accused of a gang-related crime, or if you are concerned that their gang-related activities or gang affiliations will cause imminent legal troubles, you don't have to face it alone. There are programs and people that can help, many of which can be found on the Calgary Police Service website. For those already arrested and/or facing criminal charges for alleged gang-related activity, Calgary defence lawyer Susan Karpa offers free consultations. Contact her office today to get the help and advice you need.