Gangs and Our Youth
Gangs in Surrey are recruiting children as young as 10 years old to do some of their most dangerous work.(1)
Starting in elementary school, when children have increased self-awareness and are developing ideas about how they may or may not “fit in” to their social and academic environment, they become vulnerable to gang recruitment.
During the recruitment process, children may be asked to pick up or deliver illicit drugs, keep watch or drive stolen cars. If caught, they face lower sentences in the youth justice system than an older gang member would in adult court.(2)
Children and youth in gangs are put into life-threatening situations by those who recruit them. It is a dangerous game because most will have to carry out violence acts to prove themselves, which puts them at the centre of gang wars, and at high risk for criminal charges.
In 2017, Canada hit its highest murder rate in almost a decade, driven by a significant increase in gun- and gang-related homicides in B.C. Older, more entrenched gang members are using younger gang members to carry out dangerous missions, even orders to kill on their behalf. They do this to reduce the risk of retaliation or criminal charges.