Hundreds of concerned Surrey residents took part in a meeting at a local temple about ongoing gang violence in the city.

Those assembled at the Gurdwara Dukh Nivaran Sahib Society heard from community activists, former gang members, and the parents of victims of gang violence, all aimed at doing something to restore peace to the city’s streets.

“Everybody’s feeling afraid,” said Harpreet Singh, one of the organizers of the forum. “Scared to go on the streets. It's something like the situation from the country from where we come. Over there, people are afraid to go out after dark. Similarly here, also the same situation is happening.”

Singh said temples like the one where Sunday’s meeting took place are important community centres where issues like these need to be discussed.

“It’s not just religious needs that need to be met in a temple,” he said. “We are living in a society where culturally, emotionally, religiously, spiritually, everything, whatever is happening, as a community we feel it’s a need that we need to talk about these issues so that the right message goes across.”

There have been at least 22 shootings in Surrey and neighbouring Delta since March 9, one of them fatal. Surrey RCMP have said they believe many of the shootings are part of an ongoing drug turf war between groups of young men of South Asian and Somali descent.

Much of the focus of the event was on the role parents can play in preventing their children from becoming involved in this sort of violence.

Community activist Jesse Johl said many immigrant parents -- from all kinds of ethnic backgrounds -- have difficulty enforcing rules with their children in a society like Canada’s, which is generally more permissive than their home countries.

“Most of these families that are affected, they’re not poor,” Johl said. “They’re hard-working, good families. The issue becomes, well, you’re trying to stop them, you’re trying to do the right thing, but you don’t know where to go.”

One of the purposes of an event like Sunday’s is to let those parents know about the resources that exist to help them deal with the problem, he said.

Surrey resident Tanveer Rattan said the meeting’s message is very important, and he hopes the attendees took it to heart.

“A lot of punjabi parents, they're not involved in their kids lives,” he said. “They let them do their own thing. And some of them have way too much freedom.”

With files from CTV Vancouvers’ Michele Brunoro