Addressing the Phenomenon of Gangs The Youth and Street Gangs Project: History, Basic Principles, and Major Developments of a Prevention Project Based on Community Social Development

Sylvie Hamel, Marie-Marthe Cousineau, Sophie Léveillée, Martine Vézina, Julie Savignac


The authors discuss the apparent proliferation of street gangs, noting that society’s first reflex is to try to eradicate the phenomenon through repression, which is sometimes necessary when gang activities become truly dangerous, but is insufficient to truly eliminate the problem. They trace the evolution of the Youth and Street Gang Project in three districts of Greater Montréal and analyze the new and instructive information it provides. This innovative project aims to help the communities develop a prevention model, but also makes research an integral part of the process, so the process can be described and analyzed as its various stages unfold. Based on a number of years of data, the authors argue that while the project is designed essentially to prevent the phenomenon of gangs, its ultimate challenge is to find ways to encourage youth to integrate and join their communities, in the same way that they integrate and join gangs.


youth gangs; gang prevention; community development

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International Journal of Child, Youth & Family Studies

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