Section 467.1 of the Criminal Code of Canada

“……a street gang is a criminal organization that does not include a group of persons that forms randomly for the immediate commission of a single offence.”

There are four primary differences between street gangs and random groups:

  • Street gangs tend to be exclusive: members have little interest in associating with non-members.  Street gang members cut themselves off from the influence of non-involved friends and family members.
  • Activity and attitudes are frequently criminal and antisocial in nature. Street gang crime originates for several reasons including profit, rivalries, building reputation, and “Jumping In” rituals for new members.
  • Important points to understand about street gang rivalries include the following:
  • Anyone associated with a street gang may be in danger from either known or unknown rivals.
  • Street gang members’ families and friends are seriously at risk of harm, as rivals do not consider their well being.
  • Street gang violence does not necessarily cease to represent a serious danger to the individual or their family just because an individual quits the street gang.
  • Important points to consider about street gang loyalty:
  • Expectations of continued participation once an individual is “Jumped In,”
  • Involvement in the activities which the street gang as a whole feels are desirable, regardless of the individual member’s personal feeling about such activities.
  • As a means of establishing loyalty and demonstrating their willingness to suffer or risk physical or legal consequences, new members generally must submit to “Jumping In,” and initiatory activity determined by the “set” which is usually violent, dangerous and/or illegal. In many “sets, ”members risk serious consequences, including death, if they attempt to leave.