Surrey gangs, as with many gangs across BC, are constantly changing and possess characteristics unlike any other region experiencing gang violence.

 

The BC Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit (CFSEU) 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.   

  • In Surrey, the entry point into gangs for many youth is Dial-a-Doping. New dialers are often forced into debt with their suppliers resulting in an obligation to continue the dangerous activity. Young men aged 16 with a driver’s license are good targets for gangs looking to recruit dial-a-dopers.