The Province of British Columbia has committed extra funding to Surrey’s Wrap Project to increase services to at-risk youth who exhibit signs of gang-associated behaviour.
Premier Christy Clark announced today in a press conference that the province would be adding another $270,000 to the program in response to the ongoing gang violence in Surrey. There is currently a waiting list for the program, which helps 60 youth annually, and the increased funding will cut that wait time in half.
In an evaluation by Public Safety Canada, the agency said:
“Overall, the evaluation results show that the Surrey Wrap program is an effective school-RCMP partnership response to youth who are at risk of joining gangs or who are gang-involved. It would also appear that the program is a cost-effective means of addressing youth gangs. The cost per participant and reported reductions in negative police contacts indicate potential for significant savings to the criminal justice system. Finally, the program partners affirmed that the Surrey Wrap gave them more resources and tools for addressing youth gangs and youth violence in their neighbourhood.”
The recent crime spree, including around two dozen shootings in the last two months, has sparked indignation among residents and politicians that not enough is being done to deter the violence.
“Surrey is a young community, it’s a thriving community and a diverse community. And we have to make sure that safety in this community is second-to-none,” Clark said during the conference. She added the decision to increase the funding occurred after meeting with Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner.
Hepner also announced the city is hiring a general manager of community safety.