Brian Aasebo, Surrey community safety program manager. (Photo: City of Surrey)

Surrey SAFE anti-gang family program seeing results

Its ultimate goal is to help 4,700 at-risk children by the end of its five-year funding cycle

The Surrey Anti-Gang Family Empowerment Program (SAFE), funded by Public Safety Canada and run by the City of Surrey, aims as its name suggests to keep youths out of gangs while helping them build positive life skills.

Brian Aasebo, community safety manager for the City of Surrey, recently highlighted some of the program’s landmarks for council concerning how 10 partner agencies deliver 11 programs through $7.5 million of federal funding.

“We know that youth who have been victimized are particularly vulnerable for gangs because they are seeking acceptance, belonging and safety,” Aasebo said. “When such youth start carrying weapons their risk for violence increases. We believe that providing the appropriate support for youth who experience victimization prevents negative behaviours and criminal affiliation.”

Aasebo said that from January 2019 to March 2020, SAFE has helped 1,515 Surrey residents, including 1,292 children. Its ultimate goal is to help 4,700 at-risk children by the end of its five-year funding cycle.

“SAFE is focusing on prevention and early intervention to give Surrey youth a brighter future,” he said. “Based on our data, we know that we are already reaching our intended audience and enhancing the connection between at-risk youth, and their families, schools and communities.”

READ ALSO: Surrey Mounties’ FYRST program helps kids at risk of crime, gang involvement

Its programs include the High Risk Your Justice Program, Youth Hub for Co-operative Enterprise, Children and Youth at Risk Table, SAFE Community Clinical Counselling, Caregiver education Clinical Counselling, Female Youth Gang Intervention Program, Family and Youth Support Team (FYRST), Peer Leadership Program, South Asian Family Strengthening Team, and Intercultural Family Intervention.

Collectively they address gang involvement, homelessness, poverty and mental health.

The Children and Youth At-Risk Table, an initiative to support children before they show negative behaviour or get involved with crimes, by the end of March 2020 was involved in 47 meetings and took on 180 cases involving six to 19-year olds.

The average clients are 14-year-old boys, making for 64 per cent of all cases. Referrals come from all Surrey neighbourhoods with the most from Newton (63 cases), followed by Guildford (46), Whalley (29), Fleetwood (25), Cloverdale (17), South Surrey (16), and two from parts unknown.

Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum called it a “tremendous” program with “tremendous results. We can see that in the community.”



tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook and follow Tom on Twitter

B.C. gang problemSurrey

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

‘Tacky’ White Rock Pier lights spark criticism

Alternating colours most evenings, lightshow must stop, says resident

Surrey South MLA says premier’s decision to call a snap election is self-serving

‘This is not what anybody needs right now,’ Stephanie Cadieux said

Citing stability, B.C. Premier calls snap election for Oct. 24

John Horgan meets with Lieutenant Governor to request vote

COVID-19 exposures at Surrey schools: An updated list

Fraser Health has created a new webpage listing COVID-19 cases in schools

Sources, City of White Rock launch Thanksgiving Food Drive

Volunteers, donations sought for annual food-bank initiative

COVID-19: 4 more deaths, 366 new cases in B.C. since Friday

A total of 8,208 people in B.C. have tested positive for COVID-19 since January

RCMP issue two $2,300 COVID fines at same Metro Vancouver vacation rental within 24 hours

Cpl. Mike Kalanj said it was ‘quite frankly appalling’ to see parties breaking COVID-19 rules

Here’s how voting amid a pandemic will happen in B.C.

Elections BC has worked with the provincial health office to determine safety protocols for voting

B.C. privacy commissioner will hear First Nations complaints about COVID

The hearing will rely on written submissions from the Indigenous governments as well as the Ministry of Health

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Majority of Canadians support wearing masks during COVID-19, oppose protests: poll

Nearly 90 per cent felt wearing a mask was a civic duty because it protects others from COVID-19

Paper towel in short supply as people stay home, clean more, industry leader says

While toilet paper consumption has returned to normal levels, paper towel sales continue to outpace pre-COVID levels

Most Read