And not as obvious as you’d think.
And not as obvious as you’d think.
Alberta has gangs.
And these gangs are causing serious damage—to our communities and neighbourhoods, to businesses and property, and to their loved ones and other innocent families.
Down the street. At the corner store. Under your roof? Organized crime is happening in your community. Look closer. You’ll see gangs exist and are thriving in Alberta.
In 2018, Alberta had the third highest homicide rate among the provinces.
In 2018, half of all Canada’s firearms-related homicides were connected to gang activity.
In 2020, nearly half (48%) of all shooting events in Alberta were targeted.
Gangs cost our communities: beyond fear, vandalism, drug dealing, violence and loss of safety in your neighbourhood, incarceration for one average male gang member is about $93,000.
Gangs are in urban and rural areas.
Gangs influence, groom and recruit kids starting as young as 8-years-old.
Children lost, friends lost, family bonds lost. What’s that worth?
A higher cost? Many gangsters don’t live past 30.
3 people + organized criminal activity for money = a gang
Think you know? Gang myths busted:
Click to reveal the truth.
Gangs are reaching into far more communities than ever before.
A child who thinks, acts and looks like a gangster runs a high risk of being recruited by a gang.
Gangsters are harder than ever to identify. Contemporary gangs often dress more mainstream to blend in. Behavior is the real indicator of gang involvement.
You have influence
Have you seen signs? Is someone you know in a gang? Here’s what to do.
See if they’re open to exiting the gang. Let them know you’re supportive.
Be a listener. Help identify their personal hurdles and support them in making a plan.
Help them find education, work or hobby related opportunities.
Encourage relationships with people or institutions that are completely removed from gang life.
Get yourself out of a gang.
Believe in your power to change.
Gangs are dead-ends. No matter what you’ve done, you deserve better.
Fill your time with anything non-gang related.
Sports, family time, old hobbies.
Stop looking like a gangster.
Making people feel afraid of you doesn’t help you feel good about yourself.
Get good at excuses.
Distance yourself. Find any and all reasons to not hang out with your gang.
Find support for the transition out.
Connect with someone you can talk to who believes in you and your exit.
Gang Exit and Community Outreach Services
The Gang Exit and Community Outreach Services (GECOS) program is funded by the Government of Canada, Gangs and Guns Violence Action Fund. GECOS is operated province-wide by the Alberta Justice and Solicitor General in partnership with the Edmonton, Calgary, Red Deer, Grande Prairie John Howard Societies and the Lethbridge/Medicine Hat McMan Youth, Family and Community Services Association.
GECOS is available to individuals interested in exiting, or have affiliation with gangs who are incarcerated in a Government of Alberta adult or young offender correctional facility, or who are residing in the community.
- GECOS participants are gang involved men, women and youth
- At a high risk of re-offending;
- Disengaged from education or legitimate employment;
- Experiencing difficulties accessing community services.
GECOS involvement is voluntary and participants must exhibit willingness and motivation to achieve mutually established case planning goals to exit gang lifestyles.
GECOS’ overriding objective is to end participant involvement with the justice system by accessing available wrap-around community resources including:
- Employment training;
- Financial support;
- Prosocial supports
GECOS program and enrolment information is available at:
Northern Alberta Region
Edmonton JHS GECOS
Grande Prairie JHS GECOS
central alberta Region
Calgary JHS GECOS
Red Deer JHS GECOS
southern Alberta Region
Lethbridge McMan Youth, Family and Community Services GECOS
*If a participant feels their safety is endangered by attempting to exit a gang, they must contact 911 for police assistance.
I got out
of a gang.
Ex-gang member “Marcus” talks about his experience.
467.1 (1) The following definitions apply in this Act.
- criminal organization
criminal organization means a group, however organized, that
- (a) is composed of three or more persons in or outside Canada; and
- (b) has as one of its main purposes or main activities the facilitation or commission of one or more serious offences that, if committed, would likely result in the direct or indirect receipt of a material benefit, including a financial benefit, by the group or by any of the persons who constitute the group.
It does not include a group of persons that forms randomly for the immediate commission of a single offence.(organisation criminelle)