||To address the proliferation of Aboriginal gangs in Alberta, Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) ‘K’ Division’s Aboriginal Policing Services (APS) implemented a three-year pilot program called Aboriginal Gang Reduction and Exit Strategies. Built around the four pillars of education/awareness, intelligence collection, enforcement and exit strategies for those ready to leave the gang lifestyle, the program currently targets seven Aboriginal communities in the province. The program focuses on the “five Cs”: community, communication, cooperation, coordination and cohesion.
The initiative educates RCMP members and communities on gang activities and prevention strategies. APS identifies and develops effective exit and intervention strategies for receptive individuals, working in collaboration with Aboriginal communities and partnering with external agencies. APS is also part of the Alberta Gang Reduction Network, a group of approximately 30 organizations from around the province.
‘K’ Division plans to expand the program to other Aboriginal communities, and possibly beyond the original three-year pilot if additional funding can be obtained.
||The core objective of the program is to educate and mobilize Aboriginal communities to take ownership of the strategies and reduce gang activities in these communities.
||Communities have bought into the project’s concept by setting up task forces and taking ownership of the initiative. APS has also produced a research report on existing models that could be used in Alberta to support female gang members/associates in exiting the gang lifestyle and changing their lives.
APS regularly asks participants to evaluate workshops and presentations,in order to gather evaluative data on the program. A summary of these outcomes will be presented at a later date.
||To date, the program has received $250,000 in funding: $150,000 from Alberta civil forfeiture and $100,000 from Alberta’s Safe Communities Innovation Fund (SCIF). APS uses the funding to support local organizations helping to prevent Aboriginal youths from joining gangs and supporting those leaving a gang.
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