issues and experts

SFU experts on curbing gang violence

November 03, 2022

Simon Fraser University faculty are currently involved in two projects in the Lower Mainland aimed at curbing gang violence and making anti-gang campaigns in B.C. schools more effective. Both are available to speak to media about their respective programs.  


Combatting gun violence should be part of holistic crime prevention and start well before measures such as gun control, according to a Simon Fraser University Faculty of Education instructor who is part of a Surrey-based program aimed at meeting critical mental health service needs for youth.

Richard Tatomir, clinical professor of counselling psychology for the Surrey Anti-Gang Family Empowerment (SAFE) program, says the program’s coordinated approach to addressing youth gang violence is one solution. Launched in January 2019 with funding from Public Safety Canada, the five-year, $7.5 million program is led by the City of Surrey.

“We are part of a multi-sectoral initiative highlighting the critical needs for mental health services coordinated with care from other partners, that can determine whether a youth joins a gang or whether they build a future that their parents have dreamed for them,” says Tatomir, who attended the recent federal government announcement on the national freeze on the sale, purchase and transfer of handguns.

SAFE works to keep children and youth out of gangs while building positive life skills and increasing connections with family, school and community. With a large population of children and youth living in Surrey, SAFE involves 10 partner agencies delivering 11 individual programs that are disrupting negative pathways to gang violence. Tatomir can talk about the program’s approach and the critical need for governments to renew or expand funding for the program, set to run until December 2023.


SFU criminology professor Jennifer Wong has launched a study to determine the efficacy of anti-gang campaigns in B.C. schools. 

Over the next six months Wong will conduct a survey of several Coquitlam area schools that will evaluate the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of BC’s Anti-Gang Messaging Campaign “End Gang Life.” 

The study will involve more than 2,000 students and is being done for the Ministry of Public Safety. Wong can speak about the ongoing survey and the importance of ensuring such campaigns are effectively reaching youth.


RICHARD TATOMIR, practitioner instructor, education | 

JENNIFER WONG, professor, criminology |


MATT KIELTYKA,  SFU Communications & Marketing 
236.880.2187 |

Simon Fraser University
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