Transit ads or not, $35,000 is a “drop in the bucket” when it comes to preventing gang violence, says gang expert Michael Chettleburgh.
The author of Young Thugs told Metro yesterday he would much rather see available funds go to reality-based programs, such as hiring an ex-gangster to speak to kids, than police-led gang prevention techniques.
“I want it to be known that the Calgary Police Service is doing a very good job,” he said, but added that when judged by their effectiveness, bus ads are more of a feel-good measure.
“It’s naive to think that a transit ad is going to be sufficient counter- pressure.”
Police have had their Get a Life campaign ads shelved for nearly a year after being unable to find the $35,000 in their 2009 budget.
Chettleburgh said other influences in a kid’s mind, such as money or peer pressure, are going to have a much deeper impact; a kid isn’t going to wake up one day deciding to join a gang — it will be evolutionary.
If there’s an unlimited budget available, “do your transit ads,” he said, but he added that with an exaggerated sense of self, a kid never thinks he’ll actually end up in a morgue until he gets shot.