Community Forum Criticizes Police And Surrey Council For Inaction On Gang Violence

All Parties Agree That Ending The Deadly Gun Violence In Surrey Will Need Cooperation!

The Tuesday night event followed 22 shootings in the city east of Vancouver and neighbouring Delta in the last six weeks.

SURREY – More than 700 people who attended a forum on a recent spate of gunfire in Surrey were told by police and local politicians that they must speak up if they want to end the violence in their community.

But many in attendance gave it right back to police and Surrey mayor and council who are paid handsomely to look after the safety of its citizens, telling them they were not doing enough to end gang violence that has seen nearly two dozen shootings and one recent killing of a young Indo-Canadian Arun Bains, the nephew of NDP MLA Harry Bains.

The Tuesday night event followed 22 shootings in the city east of Vancouver and neighbouring Delta in the last six weeks, including one that killed a 22-year-old man.

Police have linked 14 of them to a dispute between gangs of South Asian and Somalian descent that’s believed to involve territory and low-level drug trafficking.

Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner told the gathering that the senseless violence must stop, saying she’s pained by the loss of life.

“It could be an out-of-control problem and that’s one of the reasons we’re trying to get together and look at alternatives and solutions,” says one concerned resident Lali Pawa.

The community has been gripped with fear and some children have been afraid to leave their home, other residents say.

Parents, educators, police and community leaders gathered in Surrey Tuesday night to find solutions to the fatal escalation in gun violence, and they called out for more resources in crime prevention.

NDP leader John Horgan said a strong theme of the evening’s discussion was that crime must be stopped where it starts, at home and in schools.

“The message I heard loud and clear from the community is that they desperately want to help. The tips line is great for crime that has already started, but I heard from several parents who know their child’s future is hanging in the balance but they don’t know where to turn. They want to engage with their schools and with the police,” Horgan said.

“And there are success stories in Surrey schools right now, but these prevention programs do not have the resources they need. In fact, Premier Clark is taking millions of dollars away from our school districts.”

“The people who traffic drugs, people engaged in criminal lifestyle will try to exploit our students,” said Surrey RCMP Chief Supt. Bill Fordy, who is urging those with information to contact the tip line.

Another concerned parent, Meera Gill, says the tight-knit Indian community had hoped that it didn’t have to involve the police.

“We’re hoping we can change the kids ourselves … That’s the reason we don’t go ask the enforcement department to come in,” she said. But she agrees things need to change.

“It would be a denial to say, ‘Oh my kids are clean,’ and no parent can surely say that. This is the reality.”

The Surrey RCMP, RCMP Lower Mainland District and the City of Surrey announced the creation of a tip line this week which is dedicated to gathering information about the shootings that have occurred in Surrey and Delta over the past six weeks. The tip line is 604-915-6566 and will be monitored 24/7.

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