Process and Outcome Evaluation of the Saskatoon Gang Strategy: Evaluation Report

This report contains the results of a process and outcome evaluation of the Gang Strategy of Saskatoon. The purpose of the current project was to describe the implementation and activities of the Strategy in the City of Saskatoon and to assess the effectiveness of the Strategy with respect to the goals and objectives set out by the Strategy. The evaluation was designed to identify strengths and weaknesses of the Strategy as implemented, to identify challenges to implementation, to suggest improvements, and to provide information to guide the Strategy in its further development.

By Carrie Tanasichuk, Sarah Hogg, Terri Simon, Myles Ferguson and J. Stephen Wormith

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The Saskatoon Gang Strategy uses an interagency approach designed to reduce gang-related crime within the City of Saskatoon. The Strategy is not a program per se but focuses on building upon existing community and government resources including employment programs, education, recreation, substance abuse programs, corrections-based interventions and law enforcement. The Saskatoon Gang Strategy uses an interagency approach designed to reduce gang-related crime within the City of Saskatoon. The Strategy is comprised of three pillars:

  • Prevention of gang formation and gang involvement,
  • Intervention with individuals associated with gangs, and
  • Suppression of gangs.

A prevention Subcommittee was established to focus on those activities aimed at preventing gang formation through improved public knowledge as well as increased resources aimed at the underlying risk factors associated with involvement in gangs.

An intervention Subcommittee was established to focus on those activities that target individuals associated with gangs and that assist them to leave the gang lifestyle.

A suppression Subcommittee was established to focus those activities, such as inter-agency communication, that incapacitate gangs through police operations aimed at crippling gangs and suppression of gang paraphernalia.

Four broad goals established for the gang strategy included:

  • To increase community engagement in the gang prevention strategy,
  • To decrease gang entry by addressing personal and community factors,
  • To increase gang exit by addressing personal and community factors, and
  • To decrease gang-related crime.

Development of the Saskatoon Gang Strategy began in October, 2005, as a response from the community and all three levels of government to address the problem of gang-related crime in Saskatoon. In the years prior to its creation, the increasing numbers of gangs and gang-related crime had become a high profile issue in the city. Consequently, it was determined at senior levels of government and related agencies that a comprehensive strategy should be initiated. 


The evaluation strategy consisted of a multi-method, multi-source “action research” approach to data collection so feedback could be provided to the stakeholders as it became available. The evaluation was conducted by an independent Evaluation Team in consultation with an Evaluation Subcommittee, which included representatives from the Saskatchewan Ministry of Justice and Attorney General, the Saskatchewan Ministry of Corrections, Public Safety and Policing, the City of Saskatoon, the Saskatoon Police Service, as well as members of the Evaluation Team from the University of Saskatchewan.

The Evaluation Team began by facilitating the development of the Saskatoon Gang Strategy program logic model and then used this logic model to identify data collection needs.

Quantitative and qualitative data were collected on a range of factors that spoke to the extent to which the Saskatoon Gang Strategy has met its various objectives. Due to the diversity of the Strategy’s objectives, evaluation data were collected from a wide range of sources. Types of data collection included structured interviews, surveys, document reviews, client file reviews, extractions from offender databases, and nonparticipant observation.


Results showed that the collaborative nature of the Gang Strategy of Saskatoon appeared to be working well and that all of the major stakeholders are represented at the Steering Committee meetings. Although there has been some evolution in the designated representatives from some stakeholder groups, it does not appear to be a reflection on the importance of the Steering Committee or of the Saskatoon Gang Strategy to the represented stakeholders. However, more efforts need to be made to ensure that new members are apprised of the goals and objectives of the Strategy. In addition, extra care must be taken to ensure that the Committee remains focused and committed to the goals and objectives of the Strategy.

It appears that a substantial barrier to fully implementing the Saskatoon Gang Strategy as planned has been the lack of funding for staff support. The Community Resource Coordinator and the Steering Committee Coordinator positions were both dropped during the evaluation period. This was a concern of the Evaluation Committee as it became apparent that having someone in a designated coordination role is critical to maintaining the progress made by the Strategy to date.