Crime prevention starts at school and at home
The Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit’s (CFSEU) End Gang Life program can now give more B.C. students, parents, and teachers a live, first-hand account of the perils of gang life.
With the ongoing gun violence occurring in communities throughout the province, and specifically in the Lower Mainland, the B.C. government has committed $10,000 to help as many schools, students, and families as possible put an end to gang life.
“Gangs recruit new members when they are young and searching for a place to belong. This program applies the same strategy – we are recruiting youth to stay out of gangs and help keep their friends out of gangs,” Minister of Justice Suzanne Anton explained.
“There have been too many young lives lost to senseless gang violence in B.C. End Gang Life’s ability to empower young people to make good choices to protect themselves and their families is of an immeasurable value to the communities of British Columbia.”
This investment will fund at least 35 more presentations for about 5,000 more students, parents, and teachers at schools and communities throughout the province, including those in the Okanagan, Chilliwack, Kelowna, Surrey, Richmond, Port Moody, Coquitlam, Langley and on Vancouver Island.
The End Gang Life program is an in-school gang prevention, education, and youth engagement presentation. Led by ex-gangster Jordan Buna, and supported by educational videos, the presentation contrasts the myths and the realities of entering gang life. It shows people how and why to avoid this dangerous lifestyle, how to recognize when someone is going down this path, and the strategies to deal with the pressures of gang life in communities.
Buna turned his life around since serving a prison term for being involved in gang activity. He now chooses to communicate his harrowing personal experiences with gangs to communities throughout B.C. to help young people and families avoid the mistakes he made.
“Gang life seemed like such an easy way to make lots of money and have everything I wanted,” said Buna, a former gang member and End Gang Life spokesperson.
“Instead it robbed me of so many opportunities and exposed me to horrifying scenes that I will never forget. If this new funding allows us to reach just one more student who feels alone and vulnerable and remind them that there are much better options out there, it will make a huge difference. Even though I was lucky and got out, being part of a gang was a death sentence for most of the people I knew. That is the reality of gang life.”
For the first time, the End Gang Life presentation has also now been translated to Punjabi in an effort to provide information and resources to more British Columbians who may fear one of their loved ones could be lured into gang life.
“We’ve found that the on-the-ground, personal approach to speaking to students, teachers, and parents is effective in creating dialogue,” said CFSEU-BC staff sergeant Lindsey Houghton .
“Demystifying the seemingly alluring tactics of gang recruiters is key in helping youth and young adults make better choices. The more that parents understand the potential dangers of gang life and are able to identify signs that their kids might need help, the safer our communities will be for everyone.”
- End Gang Life is a recipient of this $10,000 grant from B.C.’s Civil Forfeiture Office (CFO). The CFO awards grants to organizations and projects that focus on Violence Free B.C. initiatives, youth crime prevention, and restorative justice. Applications for the 2015-16 grants are now open.
- By entering 25 schools in a dozen communities throughout the province since 2014, End Gang Life has now reached over 10,000 students, many of whom have let Mr. Buna know that his story has changed their perspectives on the truth about gang life.
- CFSEU-BC is the largest integrated joint forces police unit in Canada, and it draws and develops highly-specialized officers from federal, provincial and municipal agencies throughout the province.
- CFSEU-BC targets, investigates, prosecutes, disrupts, and dismantles the organized crime groups and individuals that pose the highest risk to public safety due to gang violence.
- Premier Christy Clark has recently committed $5 million to target gangs over the next two years with a focus on community initiatives, targeting prolific, violent and gang-affiliated offenders, keeping young people out of gangs, promoting gang exit programs, and strengthening safety for First Nations communities and vulnerable women.