Documents/VPD/3: Gang Activity

3: Gang Activity

Suppress violent gang activity

Other Information:

Gang violence is a serious and pressing issue for the VPD. Many criminal activities are committed by the numerous crime groups that are active in Vancouver, such as drug trafficking, turf wars, grow-rip robberies, drug smuggling, extortions and kidnappings. However, it is the violence inherent in these groups that is of primary concern for law enforcement. Gun violence carried out overtly and with little or no regard for public safety has become a trademark of some crime groups in Vancouver and the Lower Mainland. The threat posed to public safety is apparent and reflected in the number of bystanders injured during the commission of violent acts and homicides. The risk of not effecting change and reducing gang violence is that the safety of our citizens is jeopardized and we potentially lose control of a growing problem. As police officers, we have identified our responsibility to curb this form of violent activity as a major organizational priority. An awareness of the amounts of drugs, money and guns that flow from organized crime, without adequate resources in place for law enforcement, is a very serious issue for our community. The investigation of organized crime and gang activities is a specialized area of policing that requires investigators to be innovative and to build up expertise over time. The disruption of these activities can often occur with patrol-based efforts, as long as the proper intelligence and operational objectives are utilized. These cases also require a collaborative police response from the VPD. We have to work together to develop effective strategies to curb gang violence. The consensus among knowledgeable observers is that if things do not change in Vancouver and the Lower Mainland, gang violence in general will continue to escalate. In spite of successful programs like the Firearms Interdiction Team, which has resulted in a reduction in the incidents involving guns in the downtown core, there has been an increase in the number of gun-related incidents across the region. The question often raised is, “Are there effective deterrents to gun possession?”. To date, the efforts of the police, coupled with the current practices in the criminal justice system, have provided minimal deterrence; in fact, they often convey the opposite message - that the consequences are relatively light if you are caught. The availability of guns makes the likelihood of increased violence that much greater. The choice does not seem to be difficult for gang members: why not carry a gun? VPD strategies need to disrupt the supply of guns in an effort to break the cycle of gang violence. MEASUREMENTS Performance Indicators: * Violent Crime rates linked to gang activity * Number of firearms offences involving gang members Additional Measurements: * Number of police officers trained in the intelligence process and gang issues * Increased firearms seizures * Number of gang intervention presentations developed and delivered * Reduction of gang-related activities at Vancouver schools * Reduction of gang-related incidents in the City of Vancouver * Disengagement of current gang members or associates * The number of VPD sponsored cases and the number of cases assisted on for outside agencies * Tracking sentences and corresponding decisions to be used in future investigations and subsequent prosecutions