Children as young as 11-years-old are now being recruited by gangs in Surrey, according to a city councillor who says more needs to be done to help them stay out of trouble.
Tom Gill says one of the big themes coming out of the ‘gang task force review’ is that youngsters are hooking up with gangs at a younger and younger age — many in their pre-teens.
LISTEN: Gangs recruiting children as young as 11 years old in Surrey
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Gill says the city has a lot of programs geared towards keeping teenagers out of gangs, but he says more resources need to be directed at younger kids.
“At the age of 11 they are quite impressionable and I think those are some of the ages we’ve not been able to allocate additional resources for and increased resources for,” he said.
“Being able to capture the issue at that young age is key.”
Gill says, to start, he’d like to see more after school programs available at community recreation centres.
“We need to keep these kids busy after school. Generally these kids are unsupervised from a period of 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.”
He says it’s also important to keep kids busy when both parents are often working.
“Many families are working two jobs… the implication of not having safe, affordable housing has had impacts in terms of our society and I think we have serious social implications that we really need to address.”