Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Ethnic gangs across the Western Hemisphere

Criminal insurgencies are threatening the security and stability of nations throughout the Americas. In Columbia, Guatemala, Mexico, and Jamaica and most other states in the Caribbean and Central American regions, police and armed forces are engaged in an increasingly brutal war against national and transnational criminal organization for control of the countryside and the cities in their countries. The "root cause" of this insurgency is not the usual combination of poverty, failed governance, and political corruption that fuels insurgencies in other parts of the world, although these factors are in play in the Americas too. Rather, the root cause of this insurgency is the demand for illegal drugs in the United States, Canada and Europe that led to the violent competition between state authorities and gangs seeking to control the supply of drugs flowing from and through their countries to North America and Europe.

The story may seem distant from Canada, but there are worrying similarities at home to the evolution of the criminal insurgency in the Western Hemisphere. In 2009 the Criminal Intelligence Service Canada estimated that as many as 750 national and transnational criminal organizations were active in Canada. In every province except Newfoundland, home-grown, aboriginal, and 'ethnic' criminal gangs are expanding into smaller towns and recruiting more aggressively, creating successor generations of gang members. Earlier this year the RCMP warned that "aboriginal-based criminal organizations" were moving rapidly into northern Ontario from British Columbia and the Prairie provinces.

Expansion, competition for "trade" and new members, and a general sense that they are untouchable -- for instance, because of "the sensitive political optics of aboriginal issues" -- is increasing the number of incidents and the level of violent behaviour across Canada on reserves and in cities and spilling into peaceful aboriginal and non-aboriginal communities. Police forces, the courts, and jails are struggling to address the problem. The RCMP estimates that it has resources to handle a mere 20 per cent of criminal gang activities in Canada. In most provinces, but especially in the West, many prisons are dominated by native gangs and cults. They are very dangerous places which police officers refer to as "gangland community colleges."



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Who am I?

I am a law enforcement professional with over 35 years experience in both sworn and civilian positions. I have service in 3 different countries in both the northern and southern hemispheres.

My principal areas of expertise are: (1) Intelligence, (2) Training and Development, (3) Knowledge Management, and (4) Administration/Supervision.

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