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February 2, 2012

Alberta Tackles Rural Gang Reduction Strategy

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Original Article from the Lloydminster Source; written by Thomas Miller.

The Alberta Government is hoping rural communities will help them reduce the influence of gangs with a $1-million grant from Alberta’s Civil Forfeiture Office.

The Civil Forfeiture Office sells property seized from criminals and now with this grant that money will go right back into the fight against gangs in our communities.
Non-profit groups and organizations have until June to apply for the grant, which Darren Caul hopes will be used for programs to keep kids away from gang recruiters.

“A specific example might be an after-school program,” said Caul, the director of the Alberta Gang Reduction Strategy, in a phone interview on Tuesday. “We know for example that there are critical hours between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. in which young people are most at risk to be recruited by gangs or into particular high-risk lifestyles. Programming during critical hours is just an example of the kind of initiative that a community might determine they want to use this money for.”

Karl Wilberg, director of the Civil Forfeiture Office for Alberta Justice, said typically half of the money they take in goes towards victims’ programs and the other half goes to programs designed for crime prevention.

“When you look at the half that goes to the gang-strategy related programs, a lot of these programs would be programs for youth,” added Wilberg. “These would be youth at risk for gang involvement, and not just urban areas. People think of it often as just an urban problem but, in fact, we try to split it 50-50 between urban and rural areas.”

Caul echoed Wilberg’s concern for gang activity in rural areas.

“Anywhere there is drug trafficking occurring, we’re concerned that there is a gang presence,” he said. “Drugs are what fuel and fund gangs. In  rural, remote and aboriginal communities where gangs have physically set up or there are gang members present or there’s drug trafficking present, we want to ensure that those communities are equipped to proactively reduce their impact.”

Click here to read the full article.

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