Nonetheless, an assessment of the American experience is extremely useful to understanding and informing the work that needs to be carried out here in Canada.
In preparing this document, information was gathered from many diverse sources.
Moreover, many of those that have been evaluated have not been evaluated very well. For instance, real-world conditions sometimes preclude the implementation of a true experimental design (Esbensen et al., 2002). “The Comprehensive, Community-wide Gang Program Model: Success and Failure,” pp.
Similarly, Howell (2000: 1) notes that, “because each youth gang and each community is unique, finding similar groups and communities for comparison is difficult.” Despite the lack of quality evaluations and other major challenges, we still need to attempt a synthesis of what we think we know from the evidence to date and extract key elements to better inform policy and practice.
Despite the lack of quality evaluations that have been conducted to date to assess the effectiveness of youth gang prevention, intervention and suppression efforts, this literature review will provide an overview of some of the programs and practices that aim to address the complex issue of youth gangs.
The main objective of this review is to develop a more comprehensive understanding of what works, what does not work, and what is promising in terms of addressing youth gang problems.
Readers should note, however, the recurrent challenges in the field of gang research.
Several eminent gang researchers (e.g., Klein and Maxson, 2006; Esbensen, 2004; Reed and Decker, 2002) have observed that gang projects, programs and strategies have been, and continue to be, rarely evaluated.
American scholars have given more attention to the subject of youth gangs than anyone else. Reducing Youth Gang Violence: The Little Village Gang Project in Chicago.
The influence of the United States on the youth gang knowledge base cannot be overstated and, as such, readers should exercise some caution before readily extrapolating American findings to the situation or context in Canada.