Local police officers who work to dispel myths about gang life and steer young people toward crime-free futures have a new vehicle to bring people into vital conversations with them.
Surrey RCMP’s Gang Enforcement Team (SGET) unveiled its new outreach vehicle today: a like-new Range Rover SUV, provided by B.C.’s Civil Forfeiture Office. The Range Rover now wears a uniform of anti-gang images and messages supporting the End Gang Life program and Surrey RCMP’s own “Shattering the Image” program. SGET will use this rolling billboard in its work to deter children, youth and young adults from high-risk criminal lifestyles, including:
- The two-to-four “Shattering the Image” anti-gang presentations that SGET makes at local schools each week.
- The team’s ongoing interaction with youth at risk of gang involvement – through the Surrey Wraparound (Wrap) program, which also connects them with outreach workers and teachers, and through after-school activities like the Castle program, which provides boys with positive leadership and mentorship.
- Gang prevention and education at school career fairs and community forums.
“Moving a young person away from gang involvement can literally save their life, as well as make their community safer,” said Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth. “Together, Surrey RCMP, the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit team based at Green Timbers, the local school district and the City of Surrey have established proven gang-prevention approaches, and providing this vehicle is one more way the Province is supporting their important work.”
“We want the broadest possible audience of parents, young people and other Surrey residents to hear about the dangers of gang life,” said assistant commissioner Dwayne McDonald, Surrey RCMP officer in charge. “The high visibility of this vehicle at local Surrey events and schools will help us reach more people and help youth understand the often dire consequences of gang involvement.”
The Range Rover brings to 23 the number of forfeited vehicles that the Province has made available to B.C. police and domestic violence agencies over the past eight years to aid in local community engagement and crime prevention. Although many of the vehicles are equipped with emergency lights and sirens, none are used for patrol or other operational policing.
Active since spring 2006, B.C.’s civil forfeiture program works to undermine the profit motive behind unlawful activity by taking away tools and proceeds of that activity. The vast majority of cases the office pursues have links to drugs, gangs and organized crime. SGET’s Range Rover was forfeited by an alleged Coquitlam drug trafficker in 2017.
- The Province is providing SGET with the use of the forfeited SUV for two years, after which Surrey RCMP may apply for an extension or return the vehicle.
- In addition to gang prevention, SGET investigates local cases involving gangs and the drug trade.
- In August 2017, government doubled to $500,000 the civil forfeiture funding provided in 2017-18 to the Wrap program, to help eliminate its waitlist. Following September’s Budget 2017 Update, government committed to provide the program with ongoing, annual funding of $500,000.
- Surrey Wrap launched in 2009 and has supported more than 500 families and students to change their lives for the better. The program helps at-risk participants, aged 11 to 17 years old, to build positive lifestyles and self-worth through a stronger connection to their homes, schools and community.
- End Gang Life is a comprehensive gang education, prevention and awareness program that uses bold, vivid images and messages.
- Forfeited vehicles that government provides to domestic violence units are not wrapped. They are used to expand the services that can be offered in the community.
B.C.’s Civil Forfeiture Office: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/crime-prevention/civil-forfeiture-office
End Gang Life: http://www.cfseu.bc.ca/end-gang-life/