The City of Surrey has launched a new website to help keep kids away from gang life. (File photo)

The City of Surrey has launched a new website to help keep kids away from gang life. (File photo)

Surrey launches website aimed at keeping city’s young people away from gang life

EmpowerSurrey.ca provides tips, tools to help parents, caregivers

The City of Surrey has launched a new website aimed at keeping the city’s young people away from gang life.

According to a news release issued this week, the new site – called Empower Surrey – is “dedicated to helping parents, caregivers and other trusted adults build protective factors among Surrey children and youth to reduce their susceptibility for gang involvement.”

The site is available in more than 80 languages, the city notes, and features information about Surrey’s “unique gang landscape,” as well as tips on how to identify and address risk factors and start conversations with young people about the subject.

The website was developed with input from more than 100 Surrey teens – aged 14 to 19 – gleaned through focus groups, surveys and online meetings held last fall.

“In B.C., gangs target children as young as 10 years old from a variety of demographic, geographic, and socio-economic environments,” said Brian Aasebo, community safety manager for Surrey’s parks, recreation and culture department.

“Being well-informed on this topic in elementary school provides an opportunity to start the conversation early and begin building protective factors that help maintain strong connections through adolescence – a time when youth typically begin to exert independence and explore relationships with people outside of their family.”

More than a dozen external partners – including numerous branches of law enforcement, community resource groups and youth groups – contributed to the project, with some funding – $51,837 – coming from a civil forfeiture grant from B.C.’s Ministry of Public Safety.

The website can be found at www.empowersurrey.ca

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