Canada providing $4.2M to Vancouver for youth programs to mitigate gang involvement

Click to play video: 'Feds put more money into gang prevention'
Feds put more money into gang prevention
The federal government is injecting millions of dollars in a program designed to keep kids out of gangs. Troy Charles reports – Feb 22, 2024

The Canadian government is providing $4.2 million to Vancouver to support anti-gang projects for youths.

In a joint press conference with the City of Vancouver, Minister of Emergency Preparedness of Canada Harjit Sajjan said the country must mitigate gang involvement starting with kids.

“Preventing young people from getting into gangs is a personal focus for me and a priority for our government. That is why we are partnering with the City of Vancouver on community-led projects that will help give youth purpose and the life skills for success,” Sajjan said.

Investing in crime prevention is part of the Government of Canada’s plan to “keep Canadians safe.”

Sajjan, who was previously a Vancouver police officer and is a military veteran, was asked about a recent shooting that injured four people in White Rock which happened Thursday morning.

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Police said more than 100 bullets were fired in the shooting, which took place on a residential street.

When I served in the military, I’ve been under fire and have been in those situations … those types of sounds and violence should never be on our streets,” Sajjan said.

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“Regardless of whether that happens in White Rock, Vancouver, or any part of our country … it should not take place here. (It is) not unacceptable.”

Click to play video: 'Anti-gang agency seizes weapons, vehicles, drugs in B.C. bust'
Anti-gang agency seizes weapons, vehicles, drugs in B.C. bust

Vancouver Mayor Ken Sim said in his experience growing up in the city, he understands that youths who do get involved in gangs come from all types of families, not just those who may be most vulnerable due to poverty and other factors.

“A lot of the kids that ended up in (gangs that I knew), they came from middle-class families and they had everything lined up for them,” Sim said.

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“The message to the families out there … if you think that you come from a good family (and it won’t affect you), you’re sadly mistaken because it can happen to you and your family as well.”

Sim said he, and city officials, are extremely excited about the investment as it will go towards protecting kids in Vancouver.

“The funding is supporting the implementation of the City of Vancouver’s 2023 to 2026 Youth Safety Violence Prevention Strategy and are Building Safer Communities Vancouver granting program, which, through community partnerships, will increase prevention of early youth violence and intervention efforts,” Sim said.

Public Safety Canada said the federal government is also fighting to stop gun smuggling at the border. Canada has invested nearly $500 million to strengthen the border.

It also points to the banning of 1,500 different models of assault-style firearms and the freezing on the sale, purchase and transfer of handguns as work being done to mitigate gang violence.

The Government of Canada’s investment comes from the Building Safer Communities Fund.


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