Blue Line

City of Burnaby to pursue innovative solutions to combat gang and gun violence

July 20, 2023  By City of Burnaby

July 20, 2023, Burnaby, B.C. – The City of Burnaby will utilize nearly $3 million in federal funding to launch a comprehensive suite of programs and research initiatives to enhance community safety and help prevent the proliferation of gangs and guns in our community.

Earlier this year, the federal government committed up to $2.96 million Building Safer Communities Fund to support qualifying community safety initiatives. The city has submitted its plan and has now received confirmation of funding approval to support six community partner agency programs, three city-led programs, and four research projects in partnership with Simon Fraser University.

“To ensure the continued safety of our community, we must pursue innovative solutions to combat gang and gun violence, and we’re pleased to see the federal government shares our priority,” said Mayor Mike Hurley. “Our approach involves a full-scale review of our current programs, as well as the development of new community initiatives which will help keep young people away from gangs, ensuring the safety of all Burnaby residents and preventing the proliferation of gangs and guns in our city.”

The suite of programs funded through the Building Safer Communities grant includes:

  • Three programs led by city of Burnaby, including an update to the city’s Community Safety Plan, a youth-driven public art program, and public education videos focused on preventing and deterring participation in gang and gun violence; and
  • Six community partner agency programs to prevent young people from becoming involved in gang activities.

“I am thrilled about the significant impact the federal funding will have on our community,” said Terry Beech, Member of Parliament for Burnaby North-Seymour. “This investment demonstrates our commitment to keeping our communities safe and ensuring a brighter future for our youth. Together, we will create a safer Burnaby and prevent the devastating impacts of violence.”

Additionally, the federal funding will allow the city to benefit from the research capacity at Simon Fraser University’s School of Criminology to undertake a series of research projects to better understand the factors influencing gang and gun violence in our community:

  • Three research projects will examine activities and outcomes relating to Burnaby RCMP’s Gang Enforcement Team and Youth Section, as well as the SD41 Gang Prevention and Intervention activities; and
  • One large scale, multi-year three-part research and public symposium project will seek to significantly increase the broad understanding of the risk factors involved for youth who engage with the dangerous criminal behaviours associated with a local gang and gun lifestyle.

“Simon Fraser University and its world-class criminology program are well-positioned to research the effectiveness of gang intervention and prevention activities in our local communities,” said Dugan O’Neil, Vice-president Research and International, Simon Fraser University. “We appreciate the government’s generous support of this work and look forward to engaging with our partners to have a meaningful impact in the community while improving the lives of at-risk youth.”

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