Anti-Gang Interventions

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Types of Intervention Generally speaking, there are two broad approaches to dealing with youth gangs, and crime prevention generally (Cunneen and White, 2007). Specific strategies, programmes and policies tend to reflect either of the following orientations: Coercive Approaches – where the favoured approach is to use coercion or the threat of unpleasant sanctions as the principal way to keep young people in line, with a particular emphasis on law enforcement. Measures within this framework include street sweeps, zero tolerance policing, electronic surveillance, extensive use of private security and private police, youth curfews, mall and shopping centre bans and anti-gang legislation. Developmental Approaches – where attention is…show more content…
A key matter of concern is the weight given to particular measures within the context of an overall strategy. While not mutually exclusive, the main message of criminological analysis of 5 Evidence into Action Topical Paper –Anti-gang strategies and interventions– April 2007 Australian Research Alliance for Children & Youth youth crime and gang life is that comprehensive community-based approaches are preferable to narrowly focused coercive strategies. This is because gang issues ultimately reflect wider political, economic and social processes (generally relating to structural issues of racism, inequality, blocked opportunities, poverty, and oppressive regulatory practices) and, as such, can be curtailed, but not fully addressed, by reliance upon coercive measures. Another consideration is what young people themselves have to say about gangs and possible anti-gang strategies. It is notable in this regard that the young people in a 1999 Melbourne gang study (White et al., 1999) generally emphasised the need for pro-active and developmental strategies to…show more content…
The Melbourne gang research (White et al., 1999) highlighted the importance of dealing with the youth gang phenomenon across a number of dimensions, taking into account the very different social histories and socio-economic circumstances of the young people. 6 Evidence into Action Topical Paper –Anti-gang strategies and interventions– April 2007 Australian Research Alliance for Children & Youth It is also essential to consider the policy implications of gang research in regards to the institutional measures that might be designed and utilised to curtail gang formation and gang-related activities. The starting point for policy development and formulation of intervention strategies is careful analysis of what precisely ‘the problem’ actually is. Canadian researchers such as Gordon (2000) and American criminal justice agencies (United States Bureau of Justice Assistance, 1997, 1998) emphasise the importance of local community-based anti-gang programming based upon an appreciation of the diversity of youth group formations, as well as the dynamics

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