This project is a contemporary, critical knowledge synthesis on the phenomenon of gangs.

It should be of interest to actors from different sectors of intervention, including the police, communities, institutions and schools, first because it seeks to review the anatomy of the issue (definitions, explanatory theories, associated processes, and the internal and external characteristics of youth at risk of joining gangs), and second because knowledge on the subject has developed considerably over the last 15 years, on theoretical, empirical and practical levels.

This synthesis reveals new dimensions of the issue.

This synthesis reveals new dimensions of the issue through the fresh perspective of disciplines that hitherto showed little interest in it.  Moreover, it includes a review of promising prevention and intervention programs, with new practices and new strategies that echo recent advances in basic knowledge on the subject.

In this respect, the actors who initiate new prevention and intervention programs show a tendency to want to better encompass the complexity of the phenomenon, to simultaneously work on its individual, family and social aspects and, as a result, to work in a concerted fashion in an attempt to develop better intervention systems. As a result, collaborative, multimodal, global and integrated approaches have assumed an important place in the literature. An evaluation of these new practices has a great deal to teach us about gang operations, stages of involvement and prevention-related issues.

Main researcher

Sylvie Hamel, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières


Research report

Call for proposals

Deposit of the research report: January 2013