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Surrey residents call for drug, gang-free city
Surrey's ongoing war on gangs was at the forefront of the minds of those who took part in the city's first-ever walk for a drug and gang-free city.
Dozens of Surrey residents took to the streets Saturday morning, walking from city hall to Holland Park.
Those who participated say they want to raise awareness about the gang violence plaguing their city.
"It's really important for the youth to get a sense of belonging in their early years," said Shenan Charania, who says he was formerly involved in a gang lifestyle for a decade. "Because if they aren't getting that, they're going to find it somewhere else, and it's really easy to get into that lifestyle."
Charania, who now works as a life and business coach, says it's important that parents reach out to their kids to ensure they have enough support.
"Instead of just trying to direct and control their child's future and life just try to build that real genuine connection with each other," he said.
The province's solicitor general took part in the demonstration, stressing that all levels of government need to work together to combat the violence seen in Surrey.
"What you need to have is good, solid policing, coupled with a good prevention program, coupled with all levels of government working together with police," said Mike Farnworth. "That's what's required."
The walk comes a week after a month-long law enforcement project in Abbotsford and Surrey targeted gang violence "hot spots," resulting in dozens of arrests.
"Project Para Bellum" resulted in 59 arrests, 45 criminal charges, and the discovery of over 40 prohibited weapons. Officers also seized quantities of cocaine, crystal meth, and fentanyl.
The Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit said some drugs they uncovered were even being concealed in a food delivery service bag.