Reducing the risk of a child becoming a gang member begins at home and in the community.
American researchers discovered that the hours from 2 to 6 pm on school days are ?the prime time for juvenile crime?. On a regular basis, children and teens are left unsupervised by adults after school. Studies have shown that after school is a peak time for teens to commit crime, be a victim of crime, be in or cause a car crash, and smoke, drink or use drugs.
Young people join gangs for many reasons which may include:
A sense of belonging
A search for love, structure and discipline
The need for recognition and power
Companionship and excitement
A feeling of acceptance
The need for protection
?When these needs are not filled in a home environment, children and youth will look elsewhere for support,? says Valerie MacLean, executive director of the BC Crime Prevention Association. ?We need to invest in our most precious resource; our children, because a supported, accepted youth is far less likely to engage in criminal activity. ?
Strategies to help prevent youth from joining gangs or becoming involved in high-risk activities include:
Involve the family and community in the development of a child?s social, emotional and physical needs.