Violence becomes more common everyday in all parts of the world, and it is all community’s job to create awareness about these gang related crimes that take lives daily. Society needs to be committed to protecting the families and lives of many individuals that may be involved with these violent gangs. United States of America varies in difference from Canada with regards to the rates of gang violence that happen daily. Each country can differ in the way gangs violate the various catholic social teachings, along with what people do to abide by them. In my honest opinion, it is important to help educate people, especially the youth, about how common gang activities and violence are in our present world. It is simple, especially in places like Canada and the United States for young people to get engaged. Although Canada is not acknowledged for having high gang violence rates, places like Toronto, Halifax, Saskatchewan, and Brampton experience numerous gangs that roam the streets, creating an unsafe community, taking the lives of many innocent people every year.
Every year the death rates gradually increases in Canada by at least ten people, and almost half of those deaths are related to gang violence. 2015 to 2017 has had a huge increase in gang violence numbers over that three year period. Statistics Canada states ‘Gang-related homicides committed with a firearm represented 12 percent of all homicides in 2015,by 2017, this proportion had grown to 21 per cent”. In the three year period, Canadian police services reported a total of 1’924 deaths due to homicide (Statistics Canada). This indicates 288 deaths connected to gang violence. These numbers will continue to grow if something does not change. Just last year in 2019, there were 490 shootings that the police affiliated with gangs. Canada is constantly dealing with high gang complications daily in many cities that people may not acknowledge. Although the government is trying to help these situations by gathering money to help fight against the violence, the violence rates may never stop rising. Tom Cardoso states, “provincial and federal governments have funnelled millions of dollars to combat gang and gun violence in the city after the 2018 Danforth Avenue shooting, which left two dead, another 13 injured and thrust gun violence into the national spotlight”. Since this incident in 2018 the rates have failed to decline, and to this day, continue to grow. It is evident that people in communities are not taking this problem seriously due to expanding numbers yearly.
The United States is well known for violent gangs, (East Nashville Crips, Grape Street Watts Crips, Rollin’ 30s Harlem Crips, Rollin 60’s Neighborhood Crips, Rollin 60’s Neighborhood Crips), these gangs are solely involved with the many shooting related homicides. Sarah Mervosh says, “There were 39,773 gun deaths in 2017, up by more than 1,000 from the year before and Nurith Aizenman says, ”The United States has the 28th-highest rate of deaths from gun violence in the world: 4.43 deaths per 100,000 people in 2017 — far greater than what is seen in other wealthy countries.” It is evidently seen that the United States of America is affected more than Canada when it comes to numbers, but the real difference comes from the solution the countries implant to stop the gang violence. The United States of America uses prevention programs to keep youths out of any gangs that they could potentially be affiliated with. The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Programs (OJJDP) studies why youths affiliate themselves into gangs, along with what attracts them to gangs, and how such gangs are formed. After various studies from the OJJDP, they could conclude that a great percent of youths affiliated with gangs for some sort of protection, money, or because a relative or friend has done the same. Other programs that help prevent gang violence in the United States of America include, The National Gang Center (NGC), and Comprehensive Gang Model. As seen, compared to Canada, the United States of America has various prevention programs to help the stopping of gang violence, since it is such a consistent problem every year.
As said in my thesis, each country can differ in the way gangs violate the various catholic social teachings, along with what people do to abide by them. Canada compared to the United states contrast in both categories of, how much gang violence is present in society, and how both countries go about creating a solution to put a stop to the high number of homicides that happen every year. Unlike the United States of America, Canada does not have great amounts of specific prevention programs that specifically are meant to put a stop to gang violence through the youth, but instead go Public Safety Canada, run by the government of Canada. The main goal of the program is to ensure safety amounts all Canadians. This is why gang violence falls under that category. Another Canadian program that helps with reduction of gang violence is the Youth Gang Prevention Fund (YGPF). Again, unlike the USA’s prevention programs, this program is a limited time fund which helps find exit strategies for youths who belong to gangs.
Catholic Social Teachings play a big role in the involvement of gangs, and deaths that come out of gang related incidents. The Principle of Respect for Human Life as a Catholic Social Teaching connects to the effort of Canada and the United States of America’s efforts to stop gang violence because they strive to have less people involved with gangs and also less people getting killed from gang violence. Proverbs 3:29 states “Do not plot harm against your neighbor, who lives trustfully near you.” In God’s eyes we are all family, we are not to take each others lives, and we are not meant to be rivals. Gang violence does not meet the Catholic Social Teachings as we are God’s sacred creation. The Catholic teachings aim to seek the sacredness of human life as part of any moral vision for a just and good society. Gang members committing homicide amongst each other is how no respect for human life is shown at all and is creating an unjust society for themselves and everyone in the communities.
Gang violence impacts people’s lives significantly. As being the most prime targeted areas for this problem, Canada and the United States of America are able to identify the problem and do what is needed to be done to put a stop to it. This is seen by the various prevention programs stopping youths early before the problem gets worse. Canada is a country that is not brought up in the discussion of mass gang violence when compared to the United States, nonetheless, it is able to be seen that Canada is a country who experiences similar problems, but at a smaller level. “No matter how hard a problem is, there is no lock without a key” (Fiza)