REMINDER: Abbotsford Police’s Community Gang Forum for South Asian families in PUNJABI ONLY on Friday (May 12)

ABBOTSFORD Police Chief Bob Rich is reaching out to South Asian families once again in an attempt to end the ongoing violence between two groups of young South Asians, as The VOICE reported last week.

The first step is a community gang forum only in Punjabi on FRIDAY, MAY 12 at 7 p.m. at WJ Mouat Secondary School.

Rich told The VOICE that the first purpose of this forum is to communicate to families what’s going on because the dynamic in this particular conflict (Townline Hill Conflict) is different from others. There are lots of people selling drugs in Abbotsford, BUT “the violence in happening in the South Asian community and it is this conflict between these two groups.”

Rich added: “It’s involving these young people, many of whom are living at home; so we need to get to the families.”

The forum is being held only in Punjabi because “the people we need to get to at this point are those who are trying to figure out how to raise their kids in Canada, generally speaking, and are still most comfortable in Punjabi.”

The second part of the strategy is “going to be to tell them that we are willing to come to their home,” said Rich.

Abbotsford Police have two Punjabi-speaking members that have been meeting with South Asian families and telling them: “Look, your 16-year-old son is hanging out with the wrong people. You need to know what’s going on. You need to intervene in your son’s life.” Rich added: “And they are getting a great reception from families who just wouldn’t know that otherwise.”

Rich said: “So we want to say to families if you want us to come to your house and talk to your family about what’s going on with your son, you ask us to come, we will come. That kind of connection is something we want to make with people in Abbotsford. So that’s an important part of our message this time around.”