Dial-a-dope gang entry risk flagged

Guide for parents lists warning signs, prevention to keep teens off first rung of organized crime ladder

Cover of new brochure released by B.C.'s anti-gang squad.

Parents are being urged to watch for telltale signs their teen is a dial-a-doper – the bottom rung of drug-dealing organized crime.

The indicators – access to a vehicle, carrying multiple cellphones, going out at all days of the day and night on quick errands – are spelled out in detail in a new booklet released by B.C.’s anti-gang police unit.

The guide, titled Understanding Youth and Gangs: A Parent Resource, aims to help parents recognize and ward off the start of gang involvement.

It focuses on dial-a-dope drug deliveries because that’s the main entry point for many youth who enter gangs or organized crime activity, said Sgt. Lindsey Houghton of the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit (CFSEU-BC).

The entry-level trade is not lucrative like gang recruiters make it out to be, the guide says, arguing most could make more money working fast-food restaurants but instead expose themselves to great risk.

Dial-a-dopers are often under extreme pressure, it says, because they often rack up debts and will be held responsible by gangs for any product that’s stolen or fronted without payment.

The guide, developed in partnership with the Acting Together (AT-CURA) Project and the South Asian Community Coalition Against Youth Violence, is to be translated into other languages, including Punjabi, Chinese and Vietnamese.

Police and community partners will distribute the new booklet province-wide. It’s also online at endganglife.ca.

The publication was released as a youth gang prevention conference got underway Wednesday in Surrey.

Understanding Youth and Gangs Booklet by Jeff Nagel