The government of B.C. plans to invest $500,000 from civil forfeiture grants into anti-gang programming for youth in Surrey.

The money will help eliminate the 35-person wait list for Surrey's Wraparound (Wrap) program, which targets youth aged 11 to 17 who are at risk of joining gangs and helps them build positive lifestyles and self-worth by establishing stronger connections with their school, community and home. 

There are currently 97 students taking part in the program, which the province says has demonstrated a 67 per cent decline in negative contact with police.

"As part of our commitment to tackle gangs and gun violence and create safer communities for people, we are delivering on our promise to increase support for Surrey Wrap by $500,000," said Mike Farnworth, minister of public safety and solicitor general.

"People want to feel safe where they live and know their child won't be lost to the dead-end path of gang life," Farnworth said. "It's time to target gang violence in our neighbourhoods head-on."

Mike Farnworth

Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, Mike Farnworth says this funding is part of a commitment to making Surrey safer. (CBC News)

Established in 2009, the Wrap program is a partnership between the City of Surrey, the Surrey School District and Surrey RCMP.

Youth participants are mostly identified and referred by school staff and the RCMP. 

Intensive supports are provided, including counselling, recreational activities, mentoring, substance abuse treatment, life skills training, employment placement, and work with the families of youth. 

Funds for the investment are generated from to the Civil Forfeiture Act, which targets the proceeds and instruments of crime. The province says a majority of cases are connected to drugs, gangs and organized crime. 

From 2006 to the middle of 2017, the province says $31 million has been re-invested in B.C. for crime prevention grants and compensation to victims as a result of civil forfeitures.