From the Hells Angels to the United Nations, there are over 188 BC gangs active today.
Additionally, the recent rise in gang activity and popularity has led cities like Surrey to become epicentres of gang violence and crime. In 2016, Surrey experienced the third worst crime problem in Canada. Research from the RCMP shows that Surrey gang members are typically 16 years old when they commit their first crime and that an average gang member is just 23 years old.
In July 2018, our team from Yo Bro | Yo Girl Youth Initiative was on hand to support Linda Hepner, the Mayor of Surrey, as she announced her new Task Force on Gang Violence Prevention. In the wake of yet another Surrey shooting linked to Vancouver gangs that left two teenagers dead, the Mayor was under pressure from thousands of parents, students and community members to stem the tide of gang violence and shootings that has taken over Surrey’s streets.
The Task Force identified that the main pillar of keeping kids out of Surrey gangs is investing in prevention programs for pre-teens and teenagers.
Yo Bro | Yo Girl Youth Initiative’s focus on prevention-based programming is exactly where we should be continuing to invest our resources if we want to see change in our community. When we host after-school martial arts programs, or get a group of teenage girls together to talk about Respectful Relationships, or connect with a classroom full of Grade 6 students to share our personal experiences with gangs, drugs and violence, we are literally fighting for kids’ lives.