Why Are Youth At Risk?
Youth in Metro Vancouver face a series of challenges as they enter high school, and they are often facing these challenges alone.
Active Gang Recruitment
From the Hells Angels to the United Nations, there are over 188 gangs active in BC alone. Additionally, the recent rise in gang activity and popularity has led cities like Surrey to become epicenters of violence and crime. In 2016, Surrey experienced the third worst crime problem in Canada.
Culture of Violence
For young people not involved in criminal activity, simply being exposed to violence close to home puts them at risk. Youth exposed to violence exhibit increased rates of depression, aggression and delinquency, perform worse in school, and more often engage in risky sexual behavior.
A Mentorship Void
Many teens are facing the challenges of adolescence without strong mentors watching out for them, a community to belong to and support system to lean on. Isolated and misguided, young people will turn to drugs, violence and illegal activity of their own – often connected with gangs.
It costs $150,000 per year for one youth to be incarcerated in BC’s Criminal Justice System. With over 1,000 youth incarcerated in 2016, that’s upwards of $150,000,000 last year alone.