The City of Surrey announced new measures today which it said are meant to help tackle the ongoing gang violence in the city.
The new measures come as part of a report from the Mayor’s Task Force on Gang Violence Prevention.
The Task Force was launched by Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner in October of last year, as a way to “identify gaps and solutions that address gang violence in the region,” according to a statement.
It brought 23 community partners together with representatives from the provincial government, law enforcement, business community, school district, social service agencies, citizens, and local media.
“I’m extremely proud of how the Task Force members came together from across our community to systematically address this important issue, and that our federal and provincial partners also see the value in this work,” said Hepner.
“Partnerships are key when addressing complex public safety issues and I commend the City for drawing people together,” said Gordie Hogg, South Surrey–White Rock MP.
Based on the research and current program review, the task force developed what it called six key actions:
- Implement a “Middle Years Table” to refer to at-risk children and families for appropriate interventions and services.
- Strengthen prevention program coordination, access, and evaluation.
- Partner with federal and provincial governments to develop a “comprehensive” neighbourhood-specific prevention program.
- Support the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit and the Surrey RCMP in informing citizens of the “risks related to gang life.”
- Expand and integrate the CFSEU–BC Gang Intervention, Exiting, and Outreach services, and widen the target population to support youth and adults to exit the gang lifestyle.
- Support the Surrey RCMP in developing and implementing an Inadmissible Patron (Bar Watch) Program.
The release of the report comes on the heels of an open letter to Surrey residents, written by Surrey RCMP police chief Dwayne McDonald last week, which addressed the ongoing violence in the city.
“The Surrey RCMP, along with the community, are feeling the impact of the tragic homicides and senseless gun violence that this city has experienced in the past three weeks. Rest assured, your safety is our utmost concern,” he wrote. “We are working non-stop to find those responsible for these deplorable crimes and bring them to justice.”
A full copy of the report is available online.