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Kash Heed says gang violence in Surrey is not a ‘South Asian’ issue

Former solicitor general says solution to violence is comprehensive approach, not finger pointing

By The Early Edition, CBC News Posted: May 05, 2015 8:14 AM PT Last Updated: May 05, 2015 8:14 AM PT

Kash Heed, a former B.C. solicitor general, is criticizing what he calls an “ethnic approach” to a recent outbreak of violence in Surrey and Delta, B.C., in the past two months.

Police have pointed to “low-level drug dealers” in the South Asian and Somali communities.

“Some people seem to have this bizarre belief that it’s something within the South Asian culture that creates this type of individual when in fact it’s across all groups, regardless of their ethnic background,” Heed, who was an officer with the Vancouver Police Department during another surge in gang violence in the early 2000s, told The Early Edition’s Rick Cluff.

Police have said they are being stonewalled by the families of the victims who are not coming forward with information — something Heed said isn’t surprising.

“You have to remember the individuals who are involved in this dispute are in their 20s. They’re not young kids. They’re not 12 and 13-years-old where the family still has a lot of control on that,” said Heed.

Heed, a former B.C. Liberal MLA, wants to see a comprehensive approach to gang violence — with more funding to build prevention programs for at-risk youth, better supports in schools and crack downs on known offenders.

“Law enforcement officials [need to] take this seriously and put them behind bars and deal with it — but then think long term,” he said.

Former B.C. NDP MLA Moe Sihota has also criticized the focus on the South Asian and Somali communities.

“Surrey has a crime problem that extends through all elements of the community. The Bacon brothers weren’t Somali,” Sihota said in an interview last week.

To hear the full interview with Kash Heed, listen to the audio labelled: Kash Heed on gang violence.

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