Gangs in Canada

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Gangs in Canada are mostly present in the major urban areas of Canada, although their activities are not confined to large cities.

Ethnic breakdown of youth gangs[edit]

Police-reported ethnic breakdown of youth gang members from a 2002 report[1]


First Nations 28%, African Canadian/Black 22%, Caucasian 17%, East Indian 12%, East Asian 10%, Latino/Hispanic 8%, Middle Eastern/Arabic 3%

British Columbia[edit]

East Asian 37%, Caucasian/White 22%, East Indian 14%, First Nations 10%, Latino/Hispanic 8%, Middle Eastern/Arabic 5%, African Canadian/Black 5%


First Nations 58%, Latino/Hispanic 33%, Caucasian/White 8%


First Nations 96%, Caucasian/White 2%, Latino/Hispanic 2%


First Nations 58%, Caucasian/White 26%, African 9%, Hispanic 3%, East Indian 3%


African Canadian/Black 36%,Caucasian/White 21%, East Indian 21%, East Asian 8%, Latino/Hispanic 6%, Middle Eastern/Arabic 4%, First Nations 4%


African Canadian/Black 51%, Caucasian/White 21%, Latino/Hispanic 12%, East Asian 9%, Middle Eastern/Arabic 5%, East Indian 2%

Nova Scotia[edit]

African Canadian/Black 48%, Caucasian/White 47%, First Nations 9%


The most prevalent gangs in Canada include:

According to a 2004 police report, "The Hells Angels remain some of the largest and most powerful motorcycle gangs in the country, with growing influence in British Columbia and Ontario. Its presence has declined in other provinces due to police efforts, internal conflict and increased competition from other crime groups."[2][3]

The same report stated that Aboriginal street gangs are not as highly organized as other criminal organizations in Canada, but are amongst the most violent. Aboriginal people also constitute a significant portion of prison populations throughout Canada, and the number of First Nation inmates continues to rise at a considerable rate.[4] As of 2005 it is believed over 1000 Aboriginal youths were members of street gangs.[5]

According to the Criminal Intelligence Service Canada (CISC), "The established, well-financed and -connected Hong Kong Triad groups and crime syndicates remain, to our mind, the biggest long-term threat to Canadian law enforcement and society."[6]

In addition to Triad Societies, other Asian criminal groups, such as The Big Circle Gang, have also established national networks based in the major cities of Canada.[7][8]

The Indo-Canadian community has faced a wave of gang violence across the country especially in the Western province in British Columbia which has claimed the lives of 100 Indo-Canadian males since the 1990s to present day who are disapportinately from the Jat Sikh community. The Indo-Canadian community in BC has experienced a wave of gang and drug related crime- the kind not seen in any community in Canada before.[9]

By city[edit]


Known crime groups in Abbotsford involve Punjabi street gangs, various East Asian crime groups, motorcycle gangs, and multicultural street gangs.

However, there has been a gang conflict in the city mostly in West end part of the city in the Townhill Area. The gang conflict is between two South Asian gangs which involves 40 men in total between the ages of 15 to 25.[10]

According to the Abbotsford Youth Crime Prevention Project has assessed groups of people deemed to be most vulnerable to becoming part of a gang in the city.[11]


Known crime groups in Calgary include Aboriginal street gangs, Aryan Nation groups, Chinese street gangs, Vietnamese gangs, Middle Eastern organized crime gangs,[12] Pakistani/Kashmiri street gangs,[13] and Punjabi street gangs,[14] among others are Somali and Sudanese drug trafficking groups.[15]

Between 2002-2009 there was a bloody gang war between two rival East Asian gangs the FK and FOB gangs which resulted in 25 gang related murders of not only East Asians but of gang members of European and (East) Indian descent.[16] Disputes over the illegal distribution of fentanyl have broken out within the Middle Eastern community (with some being Lebanese).[17] Similar to the Asian street gangs of the early 2000s, these are not therefore from exclusively one ethnicity.[18]


Known crime groups in Edmonton have been identified as most being East Asian, Central European, Middle Eastern, and Central-East African across a similar broad social spectrum. Aboriginal and Somali youth seem to be the most vulnerable to be involved but not as noticeable as the aforementioned gangs above. With other ethnic groups involved in Edmonton as well.[19]

However recently the arrival of Mexican drug traffickers, along with increased activity by outlaw motorcycle gangs, is changing the face of organized crime in Alberta especially in the major cities of Edmonton along with Calgary.[20]


Biker gangs have, at various points, played a major role in Halifax's crime scene, particularly during the 1980s and 1990s.[21] However, a crackdown on biker gang activity throughout Eastern Canada, in the wake of the Quebec Biker War.[22] Most biker gangs are composed of extended families or of close associates, providing little scope for recruitment or promotion from outside. The well-known Bloods and Crips have been part of Halifax's gang environment as well.[22]


Hamilton was once home to organized crime figure Rocco Perri, so-called Canada's Al Capone, and Johnny Pops Papilia.[23]


Gangs in Montreal are mostly Caucasian (most Italian, French, Irish and Russian) but there are minority gangs which are mostly of Jamaican, Haitian, Hispanic, Asian, Sri Lankan, or Cambodian descent.[24] United smaller street gangs made up of mostly youths are pocketed in different areas of the Montreal area, particularly in Montréal-Nord,[25] Sud-Ouest, St-Michel, Parc-Extension,Ville Saint-Laurent(St-Low), West Island, St-François, Côte-des-Neiges, NDG, Rivière-des-Prairies and St-Léonard neighbourhoods.


In Ottawa, by the early twentieth-century, drive by shootings were rare and most gang activity involved narcotic distribution.[26][27]


Adult gangs in Saskatchewan are almost entirely aboriginal based.[28][29] The largest gang activity is in Regina and Saskatoon. There is also a branch of the Hells Angels in the province. Youth gangs are also almost entirely aboriginal based. Saskatchewan had the highest concentration of gang membership in Canada at 1.34 per 1000 in 2002[28] There are possibly 108 street gangs for the Prairie region.[5][unreliable source?]

Greater Toronto Area[edit]

Certain neighbourhoods in Toronto have experienced gang and organized crime activity[30] including human trafficking,[31] firearm trafficking, drug trafficking, robbery,[32] and Mafia/mob activity,.[33] A police survey found that most youth gangs in Ontario and the GTA are ethnically African/Caribbean, Caucasian/white, and South Asian/East Indian.[1]

Although Toronto's murder rate remains low, there has been a recent rise in gun violence in the downtown core of the greater Toronto area.[34] The two most focal incidents were the Boxing Day shooting, a shootout between rival gangs that resulted in the death of 15-year-old bystander Jane Creba on December 26, 2005 on Yonge Street, and a mall food court shooting at the Eaton Centre on June 2, 2012, which left two dead and injured seven others, including a 13-year-old boy. Hassan was considered to be the targeted victim and is considered to be gang-affiliated[35] while others were considered innocent bystanders.


Known crime groups in Brampton include mainly South Asian and Black gangs but there are a few White, Portuguese, and Filipino gangs in the city. For South Asian gang members in Brampton 80% were Punjabi, 15% Pakistani, 5% Tamil. Most areas are claimed by the Punjabi gangs. Racial tensions between gang members in the city are mostly between South Asians and Blacks with less extent with Afghans battling with Pakistanis.[36]


There are dozens of tribes of gangs in Scarborough, but the most common ones that are seen are the Afghan street gangs, Tamil street gangs, Chinese street gangs, and West Indian (Caribbean) street gangs.[37]

Metro Vancouver[edit]

According to law enforcement agencies, the most significant crime groups in Vancouver are the motorcycle gangs (such as the Hells Angels), East Asian street gangs (mostly Vietnamese drug gangs/Asian-Chinese Triads), and Indo-Canadian street gangs (majority Punjabi/Sikh), although others exist (mainly Eastern European, Persian, or Itailian Based groups, and quite often Aboriginal street gangs [38]) .[3] However, in recent years, "multicultural" street gangs have grown significantly in power and prominence, and have attained much media attention due to their involvement in numerous shootings and slayings throughout the city,[39][40][41] including the 2009 Vancouver gang war.

According to the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of British Columbia the ethnicities of people who died from a total of 160 gang related deaths in British Columbia between January 2006 to March 2014 were:[42]

▸ Caucasian (74 victims; 46.3%)

▸ Indian (34 victims; 21.3%)

▸ East Asian (33 victims; 20.6%)

▸ Middle Eastern (10 victims; 6.3%)

▸ First Nations (6 victims; 3.8%)

▸ Hispanic (3 victims; 1.9%)

▸ African/Caribbean (0 victims; 0%)


Gangs have operated in Surrey, leading to an increase in the murder rate, although this almost ceased; the police claimed this was because the perpetrators had left the country.[43] Most gangs within the city today battle out in Surrey's Newton community, predominantly but inexclusively amongst the South Asian community.[44]


Criminal gangs in Burnaby are composed of elements of most ethnic groupings within Vancouver.[45]


Winnipeg's gang activity consists heavily of Aboriginal criminals, with a smaller number of other ethnic groups namely Filipino and African gangs; it has been described as the Aboriginal gang capital of Canada.[46]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^ "Canadian news, entertainment, television, newspapers, free email and more". Retrieved 2011-06-06. 
  3. ^ a b "Asian gangs pose major threat, police report says". CBC News. 2004-08-20. Archived from the original on May 17, 2009. 
  4. ^ (PDF) Archived from the original (PDF) on May 2, 2009. Retrieved July 6, 2009.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  5. ^ a b, May 2006. "Prison Gangs in Canada". Inside Prison. Retrieved 2011-06-06. 
  6. ^ Lavigne, Yves. Teeth of the Dragon. Death Dealers: p. 104; 1999.
  7. ^ Chung, Alex (2008). "The big circle boys: Revisiting the case of the flaming eagles". Global Crime 9 (4): 306–331. doi:10.1080/17440570802543540. 
  8. ^ Wang, Peng (2011). "Vicious circles - Gang legacy of the Cultural Revolution". Jane's intelligence Review 23 (08): 46–49. 
  9. ^ Indo-Canadian Gangs: A history of organized crime in the Indo-Canadian community:
  10. ^
  11. ^ "Abbotsford Youth Crime Prevention Project". 
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^ "Eight Years of Bloodshed". 
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^ Mark Totten (2012). Nasty, Brutish, and Short: The lives of gang members in Canada. James Lorimer Limited, Publishers. p. 69. ISBN 978-1-4594-0039-9. 
  20. ^
  21. ^ Julian Sher; William Marsden (2010). The Road to Hell: How the Biker Gangs are Conquering Canada. Knopf Canada. p. 115. ISBN 978-0-307-36586-6. 
  22. ^ a b Mark Totten (2012). Nasty, Brutish, and Short: The lives of gang members in Canada. James Lorimer Limited, Publishers. p. 75. ISBN 978-1-4594-0039-9. 
  23. ^ Jerry Langton (2010). Showdown: How the Outlaws, Hells Angels and Cops Fought for Control of the Streets. John Wiley & Sons. p. 37. ISBN 978-0-470-67878-7. 
  24. ^
  25. ^ Vincent Larouche (2009). "2008 Montréal-Nord sur le qui-vive (in French only)". Info + Journal de Montréal. Retrieved 2009-05-17. 
  26. ^ Archived from the original on May 24, 2009. Retrieved June 11, 2009.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  27. ^ "Not guilty verdict in drive-by shooting | Ottawa & Region | News". Ottawa Sun. Retrieved 2011-06-06. 
  28. ^ a b Criminal Intelligence Service Saskatchewan (2005). "2005 Intelligence Trends: Aboriginal-based Gangs in Saskatchewan" (PDF). government of Canada. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 6, 2011. Retrieved 06-04-2008.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  29. ^ "Native Syndicate". 2007-01-21. Archived from the original on January 12, 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-21. 
  30. ^ "Interactive: City of Toronto homicides and gang activity, 2008 to present". The Globe and Mail. 
  31. ^ "Toronto gang targeted in country-wide human trafficking probe by police". 22 April 2015. 
  32. ^ Katrina Clarke (28 May 2014). "Members of ‘ruthless’ rival gangs — Sick Thugz and Asian Assassins — arrested in guns and drugs raids - National Post". National Post. 
  33. ^ "Mafia group top threat in GTA, RCMP says". 19 September 2012. 
  34. ^ "Canadian cities largely safe but rising gun violence ‘disturbing’". 18 July 2012. 
  35. ^ Megan O'Toole (3 June 2012). "Toronto Eaton Centre gun slaying victim may have had gang connections, police suggest". National Post. 
  36. ^
  37. ^
  38. ^
  39. ^ "Vancouver Sun- Cash flies as rival gangs battle it out in a BC mall". Retrieved 2008-01-16. 
  40. ^ "Smuggled guns fuelling B.C.'s gang problem". CTV News. 2009-02-28. Retrieved 2009-02-28. 
  41. ^ "Who are The Red Scorpions?". Retrieved 2008-05-30. 
  42. ^
  43. ^
  44. ^
  45. ^
  46. ^ Heather A. Howard; Craig Proulx (2011). Aboriginal Peoples in Canadian Cities: Transformations and Continuities. Wilfrid Laurier Univ. Press. p. 178. ISBN 978-1-55458-314-0. 

Further reading[edit]

  • William O'Grady (2011). Crime in Canadian Context: Debates and Controversies. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-543378-4. 

External links[edit]