John Wiley & Sons Canada
Stephen Schneider, a professor of Criminology at St. Mary’s University in Halifax whose book Iced: The Story of Organized Crime in Canada has just been released, says that his research shows that police and broader criminal justice approaches have only little success in quelling the gang-related violence that is currently affecting cities like Vancouver, Toronto, and Halifax.
“The one organization in Greater Vancouver that has the best hope of stopping gang violence is the Hells Angels,” says Schneider. His historical research, which dates back to pirates operating off the coast of Atlantic Canada during the 17th Century and continues until 2006, also demonstrates that there has been more gangland violence in Canada in the last 20 years than in any similar period in Canadian history.
He argues that the bill – which was tabled in the House of Commons in February and includes tougher sentencing for gang-related shootings and murders – only addresses the symptoms of the problems.
“While I support the bill and tough penalties for those committing such violence, for every shooter you put in jail, another will emerge to take his place,” says Schneider. "We need a long-term, comprehensive, strategic approach to organized crime and crime in general that include more proactive and preventative measures that address the root causes of these problems."
Schneider is available for interview and can comment on:
● The ineffectiveness of the Harper government’s bill to impose mandatory minimum prison sentences for drug crimes
● How politicians in Canada are failing the public in their reactive and short term responses to gang violence and organized crime
● How Vancouver should approach their gang problems, as the Olympics looms and local politicians begin to panic
● How governments help create organized crime and gang-related violence through the prohibition/criminalization of certain substances
Stephen Schneider (Halifax, NS) is an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology and Criminology at St Mary’s University. As one of Canada’s foremost researchers and educators in the field of organized crime, he has conducted a number of studies on organized crime for the federal government.