Anti-gang tactics working, Mountie tells conference

Gangland murders down in B.C. but officer wants to keep pressure on

RCMP Chief Supt. Dan Malo spoke at a conference on gang violence prevention Thursday in Surrey.

The battle against gangs in B.C. has made big advances but now is not the time to relax, a top B.C. Mountie told a conference on youth gang prevention Thursday.

RCMP Chief Supt. Dan Malo said he believes redoubled community efforts and new policing tactics can further dent organized crime and prevent a resurgence of the gangland bloodbath of five years ago.

“We’re down in the statistics,”  Malo told delegates in Surrey at the Acting Together gang prevention conference organized by Kwantlen Polytechnic University.

“A number of [gangsters] are in jail, a number of them are dead, a number of them have changed their behaviour and others we have forced to change their behaviour.”

There have been just three gang-linked murders in B.C. so far this year, way down from 2007 to 2009, when the annual death toll ran as high as 36.

Malo said it’s becoming clear a police strategy of pressuring prolific gangsters to make life uncomfortable and rob them of their power and influence is helping.

He said it’s also clear earlier enforcement in B.C. failed because gang members “weren’t being touched” while they spent lavishly and developed the attitude they were “superstars” who could kill at will.

“In the 90s and the 2000s we let people people like [gangster] Bindy Johal run crazy. We let the United Nations Gang and the Independent Soldiers run around with hoodies on that said they were all that.”

Youth in B.C. cities were recruited and sucked into the vortex of violence.

“Many of these young kids went from street level bullying to drug trafficking to extortion to contract killing in a matter of a few years, when traditional organized crime takes decades to do that.”

Past policing success was measured too much by the number of bad guys jailed or kilograms of cocaine seized, Malo said, and focused heavily on taking out top crime kingpins.

Today, he said, more effort aims to change attitudes and behaviours.

“It needs to become part of the fabric of British Columbia that this kind of behaviour is not tolerated. We take our young kids, we turn them into superstars in our communities – not gangsters.”

The new endganglife.ca campaign of B.C.’s anti-gang police unit plays on emotions of gangsters with imagery of loved ones left behind after they’re dead.

Malo said it worked on one ex-Lower Mainland gangster, who recently agreed to exit the life rather imagine his child having to bury him.

The biggest challenge was answering the man’s question of what he would do now to keep earning $6,000 a day.

Malo said officers arranged for the ex-gangster to enter a training program for a job that will pay well.

“If they choose to exit that lifestyle, we’re going to help them do that,” he told delegates. “We’re going to support them because they’re going to change their behaviour.”

Community groups can play a huge role in helping build strong character in youth and “give them role models that are not Jamie Bacon.”

Malo also wants to put pressure on others who profit from gang activity.

“We have to lean on businesses that take straight cash for vehicles,” he said.

“We know car rental places that make all their money from renting cars to gangsters. We need to work with them maybe tell them that’s not the right side of the community they need to be in.”

While there have been signs of success – Malo also counts the doubling in the price of cocaine in the past couple of years to $60,000 a kilogram, indicating a crimp in supply – there are also trouble spots.

Heroin overdoses have spiked in the last six months, he said.

And too many B.C. criminals remain influential players in the international drug trade.

“Now is not the time to take our foot off the gas.”

Just Posted

Get your pet on the jumbotron at this weekend’s Royals game

Victoria Royals host the Regina Pats Saturday night 7:05 p.m.

‘Toxic’ chosen as the Word of the Year by Oxford Dictionaries

Other top contenders for 2018 include ‘gaslighting’ and ‘techlash’

Temperature records broken in Esquimalt Harbour and four other B.C. cities

The last temperature record in Esquimalt Harbour was set in 1999

Gingerbread Showcase returns for another year of delicious fun in Victoria

Funds raised from the event support Habitat for Humanity Victoria’s build in Central Saanich

Unique technology gives children with special needs more independent play

UVic’s CanAssist refined seven prototypes aided by $1.5M government contribution

Greater Victoria holiday craft fair roundup for Nov. 16 to 18

Check off all of the items on your shopping list at these great events

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Nov. 14

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

RCMP bust illegal B.C. cannabis lab

Marijuana may be legal but altering it using chemicals violates the Cannabis Act

Canada defeats Germany 29-10 in repechage, moves step closer to Rugby World Cup

Hong Kong needs a bonus-point win over Canada — scoring four or more tries — while denying the Canadians a bonus point

Avalanche Canada in desperate need of funding

The organization provides avalanche forecasting for an area larger than the United Kingdom

B.C. teacher’s Amazing Race takes students on Canada-wide adventure

Agassiz high school students say they had the experience of a life time

Don’t sign USMCA until LGBTQ language excised, U.S. lawmakers urge Trump

The trade agreement, forged after 13 months of tense negotiations between Canada and the U.S. is scheduled for Nov. 30

US official: US intel says prince ordered Khashoggi killing

Vice-President Mike Pence told reporters that ‘the murder of Jamal Khashoggi was an atrocity.’

Most Read