A month after announcing a $23-million expansion of B.C.’s Guns and Gangs Strategy, the Province – with the City of Surrey, the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of B.C. (CFSEU-BC) and other police agencies – have made progress on major, related initiatives.
- Specialized officers and staff who will form two new 10-person gang disruption and interdiction teams within CFSEU-BC, B.C.’s integrated anti-gang organization, are being identified.
- Staffing of the new Office of Crime Reduction and Gang Outreach is also underway. This office will work with CFSEU-BC in support of the End Gang Life program, and with local governments and agencies on crime reduction and anti-gang outreach programs.
- Surrey’s purchase of 75 more cameras to monitor street-level violence is in process, with installation anticipated in four to six months.
- B.C. has bolstered Surrey Crown counsel with two full-time prosecutors and a paralegal dedicated to prioritizing cases linked to guns and gangs. By owning files from charge approval to trial, these staff will build expertise in these cases, which may result in more timely charge assessment, and will work closely with police to offer pre-charge advice and help with judicial applications to gather evidence.
- Ahead of a provincewide gun amnesty for which planning has begun, Surrey’s Safe City project saw 500 firearms and 3,000 rounds of ammunition turned over to Surrey RCMP pending re-registration, plus another 50 unwanted firearms relinquished to police.
- Development of a gang-exit pilot project is underway, which will formalize and support ongoing efforts by police to help gang members and associates who want to leave gang life.
- Funding has been allocated to the Provincial Tactical Enforcement Priority (PTEP) to ensure this intelligence-led investigative process has the resources needed to remain in use across B.C. police agencies. Among other intelligence links, PTEP identifies connections between individuals, helping officers to weight investigative data.
As well, local efforts to engage and inform parents and community members – critical to undermining the roots of gang activity and gun violence – continue apace. Over the last month:
- Surrey RCMP announced the Surrey Help Line for Parents, which they’re encouraged to call if they believe their child is involved or at risk of becoming involved in criminal activity.
- CFSEU-BC and Surrey RCMP shared information at an interactive workshop for parents on Gang Awareness at the Gurdwara Sikh Temple, and participated in a Police Week open house at Surrey’s main detachment that drew an estimated 1,600 attendees.
- CFSEU-BC End Gang Life visited the City of Surrey’s Youth Week Education Fair and provided English/Punjabi “Youth and Gangs – A Parent’s Resource” booklets at the Vaisakhi parade.
- The City of Surrey has consulted 110 seniors, youth, university students and other residents through public safety focus groups – with four more sessions planned – plus nearly 100 more people through an online survey. Other sessions with partners, stakeholders and city staff bring to nearly 350 the number of people engaged to date.
- During spring break, Surrey RCMP’s gang enforcement team engaged in sports and leisure activities with 35 Grade 6 and 7 students identified as potentially at-risk of criminal involvement.
Gun – and gang-related enforcement and arrest successes throughout British Columbia since late April 2016 include:
- On April 22 in Langley, execution of a search warrant, resulting in the seizure of guns, ammunition, a crossbow, various drugs and cash, as well as two arrests.
- On April 25 in Williams Lake, the announcement of a gun seizure and an arrest after shots were fired at the former residence of a person who claimed to be a local gang member.
- On May 4 in Prince George, the announcement of four arrests and charges against one person following an April 29 targeted shooting in a parking lot near the downtown core.
- On May 17, the announcement of seven arrests following simultaneous searches of five North Surrey properties related to a dial-a-dope investigation.
- On May 19, the arrests of five men allegedly linked to a Coquitlam-area drug trafficking organization and the seizure of thousands of dollars in currency, property, and drugs including cocaine and MDMA.
- On May 25, eight arrests at multiple locations in Surrey, following an investigation begun in 2015 into a dial-a-dope trafficking operation in Surrey and Richmond.
- On May 27, multiple arrests and the seizure of millions of dollars’ worth of illegal drugs in the Lower Mainland and Northern B.C., which CFSEU-BC linked to a Fraser Valley crime syndicate operating in the north.
- On May 28, arrests related to the Wolfpack, a violent organized crime group, accompanied by a significant seizure of drugs, a gun and $25,000 cash from a Surrey residence.
- On May 31, charge approval against two individuals linked to an alleged clandestine drug lab in White Rock, where police seized firearms, fentanyl, other drugs and cash.