Crime Prevention Week ? November 1 ? 7

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.