Surrey gangs, similar to other gangs in BC, are constantly changing and possess characteristics unlike any other region experiencing gang violence.


The Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit (CFSEU-BC) estimates that 188 criminal groups are operating in British Columbia.

The portrayal of gangs in documentaries, movies, and books does not represent the gangs that operate in Surrey.

Especially when compared to traditional gangs from other parts of Canada and the USA, Surrey gangs are unique in the way they use identifiable colours, graffiti, and hand signals.

Surrey gangs are also different from traditional gangs in how they recruit and groom their members as well as the typical characteristics of those members. The uniqueness of British Columbia's gangs was researched in depth by Dr. Keiron McConnell.

header for comparison images
Centered around geographic locations. Surrey gangs not geographically centered.
traditional gangs are highly recognizable by color, and surrey gangs are not.
traditional gangs use recognizable graffiti but Surrey gangs do not.
Traditional gangs use hand signs to identify membership or show allegiance. Gang members will sometimes use a rival gang's hand signal in a disrespectful way to antagonize or challenge that gang. Surrey gangs have little use of hand signs.
traditional gangs are typically comprised of members that belong to a specific community. In surrey membership is typically multi-racial.
members of traditional gangs are typically from tough neighborhoods. Surrey gang members are typically from a range of backgrounds
new members are typically recruited using coercion. Surrey gang members are typically multiracial.
Traditionally, when an individual joins a gang, they will remain affiliated with the gang forever. It is common that members of one gang will switch membership and work with another gang.


Surrey Gang Facts

  • Children and youth are getting involved in gang activity at an earlier age. The first criminal offence for gang members typically occurs at age 16 and the first school suspension at 13.
  • Half of BC gang members are younger than 33 years old, some are as young as 15.  
  • Entry into gangs typically occurs through dial-a-doping.  Males aged 16+ with a driver’s license are the prime targets for recruitment.
  • Dial-a-doping is the lowest status within a gang but the most dangerous due to its public facing nature, posing a high risk for violence from rivals. This form of criminal behaviour increases the likelihood of police enforcement with drug seizures often leading to becoming indebted to the gang.
  • As of June 2021, 74% of cases referred to the Children and Youth At-Risk Table (CHART) have been deemed vulnerable for gang recruitment whereas 7% are confirmed gang affiliates or prospects and 5% are confirmed gang members.

Do you know a child vulnerable to gang recruitment?

Learn more about how the Surrey Anti-Gang Family Empowerment (SAFE) Program can support the child.