Surrey mayor calls city's gun violence a 'regional' problem
Mayor Linda Hepner announces new Bar Watch program and task force to review anti-violence services
Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner is taking new measures to combat the city's gun violence, which she urged business leaders Tuesday to start addressing as a "regional" problem.
Hepner announced a new Bar Watch program to make criminals feel "unwelcome," plus a task force to review the city's anti-violence and gang services.
Gun violence has plagued Surrey in recent weeks — including three shootings over the span of 12 hours this month — but the 31 shooting incidents this year are a decrease from this time last year.
- Surrey mayor vows to make life miserable for gangsters
- Innocent Surrey shooting victim is a 64-year-old woman from Ontario
"This is not a Surrey problem. It's a regional problem," Hepner said Tuesday evening at a forum hosted by the Surrey Board of Trade.
"I want everyone in this room to start using the language about a regional problem, because it does affect an investment climate."
Hepner cited recent shootings in other municipalities such as Vancouver, Burnaby, Richmond and Abbotsford.
"It's everywhere. It takes a collaborative effort of everyone to really make a difference," Hepner told On the Coast guest host Gloria Macarenko.
Funding for anti-gang initiative
The NDP government also announced $500,000 of funding on Wednesday for Surrey's anti-gang program for youth, known as WRAP.
In a statement, public safety minister Mike Farnworth cited WRAP as a "successful program that identifies at-risk youth to help keep them out of gangs in the first place."
The funding will eliminate the wait list for WRAP, which has worked with 500 families and at-risk youth since 2009.
Hepner met with Farnworth earlier this month and said she needs more data about the city's anti-violence services before asking the province for more funding.
"I want to take a look with an open eye," Hepner said, referring to programs delivered by the city, police and non-profits.
"Are there any gaps in those programs? If there are, can we identify who's doing better work?"
Listen to the full interview with Linda Hepner below:
With files from CBC's On The Coast