Weapons and Youth in Toronto and Philadelphia

Patricia G. Erickson, Centre for Addiction & Mental Health
Lana D. Harrison, University of Delaware
Jennifer Butters, Addiction Research Foundation Division
Charles E. Freeman, University of Delaware
Virma Benjamin, Centre for Addiction & Mental Health
Lea Diakaloukas, Centre for Addiction & Mental Health
Anne Dimito, Centre for Addiction & Mental Health
Edward Adlaf, Centre for Addiction & Mental Health

Violence by and against youth, a serious problem in both Canada and the United States, may be exacerbated by the use of weapons, particularly firearms. The following paper presents preliminary results from an on-going cross-national study examining the relationships between youth, drugs and violence. The paper provides a cross-city comparison of the prevalence of weapon-related behaviour and attitudes among young offenders and high school dropouts in Toronto and Philadelphia aged 14 - 17. The descriptive analyses presented highlight the patterns of pro-weapon attitudes, perceived weapon-related behaviour of others and personal weapon carrying patterns and types of weapons carried by youth in the two cities. We conclude that the Toronto youth in both samples reported higher rates of weapon-carrying behaviour themselves, as well as among others in their network, than the comparable samples in Philadelphia.

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Updated 05/20/2006