Surrey is under siege by a relentless group of criminals battling for turf in a low-level drug war, and politicians, community leaders and residents have voiced alarm at the lack of resources to stop the violence from carrying on. The Province of B.C. was the first to grant additional funds for Surrey’s Wrap Project in order to increase services to at-risk youth who exhibit signs of gang-associated behaviour. Now, the Federal government is pitching in further dollars to expand Surrey’s RCMP force.
Today, the Conservative Federal government announced an increase of 100 RCMP officers in Surrey and $3.5 million over five years to fund anti-gang after-school programs for children aged 11 to 19. The youth program will be delivered by the Surrey School District and Surrey RCMP and will reach roughly 400 students.
The plan to contribute extra funding to Surrey comes after several months of ongoing gang violence that has produced over two dozen shootings in Surrey and Delta since March.
Police have reported many of the shootings are targeted hits and several of the events are linked. During an April 14 press conference, Surrey RCMP Chief Superintendent Bill Fordy and Delta Chief Lyle Beaudoin confirmed that several of these shootings were gang-related.
Many of the 15 shootings have occurred in broad daylight and involved vehicles, yet RCMP have been unable to track down any of the vehicles or suspects involved. Surrey RCMP did, however, arrest an 18-year-old male on April 10 in connection with the crime-spree. He will face six drug trafficking charges, five firearms charges and one count of resisting a police officer.
Surrey RCMP also recently charged 13 people with drug and weapons offences. On March 27, police made 66 charges against over a dozen people after seizing large quantities cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, MDMA, oxycodone, fentanyl, cash and fully-automatic firearms. Eight of the 13 have been arrested.
Shortly after the early-March shootings, RCMP released the names of five suspects connected with the events and linked to low-level drug crimes. So far, police say the shootings are part of a drug-war between South Asian and Somalian groups. They have reached out to the Sikh and Somali community leaders for support with their investigation.
B.C. Premier Christy Clark said during an April 28 press conference,“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.”
Earlier this spring, Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner and the City of Surrey called for an additional 100 RCMP officers to be hired in 2015.