Government of Canada provides support to at-risk youth in Surrey to create safer communities
January 22, 2019
Surrey, British Columbia
The Government of Canada makes it a priority to support communities like Surrey through programs that work to prevent crime and offer positive reinforcement for at-risk young people. Many partners in Surrey have come together as part of a collaborative project that will reach many young people.
Today, the Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction, the Honourable Bill Blair, along with the Minister of Defence, the Honourable Harjit Sajjan, announced $7.5 million in federal funding for the Surrey Anti-Gang Family Empowerment (SAFE) Program. This program will provide at-risk youth with alternatives to joining gangs, help them develop social skills, and restore and build positive relationships with their parents and the community.
The SAFE Program was developed out of the findings of the Mayor’s Task Force on Gang Violence Prevention, which reported its findings in July 2018. Up to 4,730 high-school-aged young people in the City of Surrey will benefit from this project.
The program is funded under the National Crime Prevention Strategy (NCPS). The NCPS funds programs that reach out to young people through schools, community centres and neighbourhood organizations to help steer them away from drugs, gangs and other potentially harmful activities. It also helps programs that provide counselling and support to build stronger communities.
The SAFE Program will include the creation of a Children and Youth at Risk Table (CHART) that brings together partners on a weekly basis to ensure interventions are coordinated for maximum impact. It will also provide support to young women exiting unhealthy, sexually exploitive relationships; and provide support to parents to strengthen relationships and positive cultural attachment for at-risk young people who may be lured into joining a gang.
“Our government believes in bringing together as many partners as possible to work in a coordinated approach to prevent young people from joining gangs. The SAFE Program was developed specifically for Surrey in response to the urgent need for a coordinated approach to address gang violence, and to disrupt the pathways young people take toward joining gangs and the gang lifestyle. We are making investments in at-risk young people to help them make better, smarter and safer choices. With this program, we will deter young people from engaging in gang activity and crime. This will ultimately contribute to a safer community in Surrey.”
- The Honourable Bill Blair, Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction
“Our government is committed to protecting our young people and keeping them safe through preventative programming to help them confront their challenges, build trust and confidence, and discover a better path. By addressing the underlying problems causing crime, the SAFE Program will make a real and lasting difference for young people in Surrey, and for the community as a whole.”
= The Honourable Harjit Sajjan, Minister of Defence
“Keeping young people engaged in school and family life to help them build a positive future free from the impact of gang and other criminal activities, is one of the most important public safety investments that we can make. This funding will complement the support we’ve given to many successful gang intervention programs, such as Surrey Wrap, Expect Respect and a Safe Education (ERASE), and Gang Exiting and Outreach project.”
- The Honourable Mike Farnworth, British Columbia Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General
“The funding announced today will go to tackle a key element in reducing gangs. Disaffected and at-risk youth have been vulnerable to falling into the trap of the gang lifestyle. We created the SAFE Program to empower our youth, families and their neighbourhoods so we can all look forward to a positive future free from the harmful impact of gangs. I want to thank the Government of Canada for their financial support in curbing gang activity in Surrey.”
- Doug McCallum, Mayor of the City of Surrey
In 2016-17, the city of Surrey’s youth-crime increased 34 per cent, with spikes in 15- to 17-year-old offenders.
From April 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018, the Government of Canada supported 77 community-based crime prevention projects across Canada.
The Government of Canada invested an additional $2 million in the Youth Gang Prevention Fund under the NCPS as part of its commitment to community funding under the Initiative to Take Action Against Gun and Gang Violence (ITAAGGV). The YGPF fund supports vulnerable populations at-risk of joining gangs and becoming involved in gun violence.
The NCPS provides national leadership on cost-effective ways to prevent and reduce crime among at-risk populations and vulnerable communities by intervening to mitigate the underlying factors that put individuals at risk of offending.
Senior Communications Advisor
Office of the Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction
Public Safety Canada
Office of the Minister of National Defence
Department of National Defence
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