Gangs are not restricted to any one socio-economic group, and are spread across all races and ethnic origins. One commonality is that they are profit driven, and constantly vying for a share in the illicit market economy. Their tactics for gaining more control include intimidation, violence and even murder.
There are several myths around gang life which include visions of fortune, extravagance, friendship and respect. The reality is quite the opposite, with many gang members ending up injured, drug-addicted, dead or in jail. See more
Myths and Realities of Gang Life from the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit.
The Surrey RCMP has a dedicated Gang Enforcement Team (SGET) to monitor gang members and associates, disrupt criminal activity and reduce the risk to public safety resulting from the actions of organized gangs. In addition, the RCMP partners with the Surrey School District and the City of Surrey for the WRAP Program, which identifies youth most at risk of being recruited into the gang lifestyle. Police work together with school staff and parents or caregivers to mentor youth and encourage a positive lifestyle and self-worth.
Signs of potential gang involvement
Some warning signs that parents and caregivers should look for that could indicate a youth may be involved in a gang include:
- Sudden changes in behaviour such as staying out late, withdrawal from family, secretive about new friends
- Unexplained injuries
- New possessions or unaccounted monies
- Preference for certain colour of clothing (gang colours)
- Graffiti on personal items such as notebooks or bedroom walls
- Tattoos or makings of gang symbols on hands or body
- Frequent run-ins with the law
Understanding Youth and Gangs (available in English and Punjabi) is a booklet designed to give parents and caregivers a greater understanding about signs of potential gang involvement. It is the product of academics, police agencies and community partners across the province.
Countering the lure of gangs
Investing and being involved in your child’s life can be a key factor in keeping them away from gang life. Some tips include:
- Know your child’s friends
- Give your child responsibilities or chores at home
- Ensure their free time is filled with positive activities whether it be sports, fine arts, or school
- Participate in your child’s education
- Spend time with your child and be a positive role model
- Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit - An integrated joint forces operation dedicated to combating organized crime and gang violence. CFSEU’s
- Gang Prevention - A Parent's Quick Reference Guide - This reference guide was created by the City of Surrey, Surrey RCMP and the AT-CURA Project at Surrey’s Kwantlen Polytchenic University. The guide can help parents recognize when their children may be exploring a negative path and inform them on how to intervene.
- www.gangprevention.ca – This website from the Justice Education Society of BC provides information on ways to prevent youth gang involvement including videos about making smart choices and gang exit strategies featuring ex-gang members.
- Preventing Youth Involvement in Gangs – This comprehensive booklet from the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General is designed to assist service providers, parents, teachers and others in helping prevent youth from becoming involved in gangs or helping them leave gangs.
- Youth Against Violence Line – 1-800-680-4264
- VictimLinkBC – 1-800-563-0808
- Kids Help Phone – 1-800-668-6868
Reporting Gang Activity
Contact your local police or report anonymously through Crime Stoppers.
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