B.C. gang strategy working, Bond says

B.C.'s two-year-old 'gangs and guns' strategy is working, and the province will continue to do its share to maintain it, Public Safety Minister Shirley Bond says.

Red Scorpions gang leader Jonathan Bacon leaved Abbotsford provincial court in 2008 after appearing on drug and weapons charges.

VICTORIA – B.C.’s two-year-old “gangs and guns” strategy is working, and the province will continue to do its share to maintain it, Public Safety Minister Shirley Bond says.

Bond issued a statement Tuesday after community leaders questioned whether federal funds for Kelowna’s 16-member anti-gang squad would continue beyond this fall. A similar unit was also set up in Prince George after a string of gang-related shootings in B.C., with a three-year commitment shared by the federal and provincial governments.

“Over 200 organized crime and gang members and associates have been arrested and charged with more than 400 serious offences since we brought in the gangs and guns strategy in February 2009,” Bond said.

“Since 2008-2009 our government invested B.C.’s full $53.3 million share of the Police Officer Recruitment Fund for additional policing positions dedicated to combating gun, gang and organized crime. I can assure you, the province is committed to the continuing funding of these dedicated resources.”

Kelowna was rocked Sunday by a brazen daytime shooting in the driveway of a lakefront hotel. Abbotsford gang leader Jonathan Bacon was killed and a member of the Hells Angels was seriously injured when their Porsche SUV was raked with automatic weapon fire from another vehicle.

Two women in the Porsche were also hit by gunfire, and a fifth occupant, believed to be another drug gang associate, escaped on foot.

Armed gang violence was being reported beyond Metro Vancouver by 2009. At that time, former premier Gordon Campbell announced the Kelowna and Prince George gang and weapon squads, along with $185 million to add 304 more cells to the overcrowded B.C. prison system.

That announcement included 180 spaces at a new Lower Mainland Pre-Trial Centre, which was opposed by Burnaby politicians and moved to an expansion of the existing Surrey Pretrial Centre. It also included 20 more spaces at Prince George Correctional Centre and 104 additional spaces at Alouette Correctional Centre for Women in Maple Ridge.

Later in 2009, B.C. moved to restrict the sale of body armour to law enforcement members and licensed security guards and private investigators.

Kelowna RCMP Supt. Bill McKinnon said in October 2009 that body armour was being used in armed robberies there. Body armour and automatic weapons were becoming popular status symbols for gang members as a way of intimidating rivals, police said.

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Spirit of the People Powwow in Chilliwack

Family Day weekend powwow a colourful, vivid celebration of Indigenous culture

How much does your city spend per person on snow removal?

Black Press Media compares 2018 ice and snow removal budgets of various Lower Mainland communities

Lucas Mannes and Calgary Dinos through to Canada West basketball semi-finals

The GW Graham grad helped his Dinos drop the Winnipeg Wesmen in a playoff series last weekend.

B.C. BUDGET: Surplus $374 million after bailouts of BC Hydro, ICBC

Growth projected stronger in 2020, Finance Minister Carole James says

Chilliwack Chiefs end BCHL regular season with meaningless road trip

The regular season champs travel to Prince George this weekend with nothing on the line.

VIDEO: 8 things you need to know about the 2019 B.C. budget

Surplus of $247 million with spending on children, affordability and infrastructure

Kelowna raises concerns over safety, policing with Centre of Gravity organizers

The mayor said it was a mutual decision between organizers and the city to postpone the festival

VIDEO: Lower Mainland barn fire kills three sheep

The Langley Township fire department was called to a site in the 4100 block of 240th Street.

‘Bullet missed me by an inch’: Man recounts friend’s killing at Kamloops hotel

Penticton man witnessed Summerland resident Rex Gill’s murder in Kamloops

B.C. BUDGET: Income assistance raise still leaves many below poverty line

$50 per month increase included in funding for poverty and homelessness reduction

B.C. BUDGET: Indigenous communities promised billions from gambling

Extended family caregiver pay up 75 per cent to keep kids with relatives

B.C. BUDGET: New benefit increases family tax credits up to 96 per cent

BC Child Opportunity Benefit part of province’s efforts to reduce child poverty

B.C. BUDGET: Carbon tax boosts low-income credits, electric vehicle subsidies

Homeowners can get up to $14,000 for heating, insulation upgrades

B.C. man survives heart attack thanks to Facebook

A Princeton man suffered a heart attack while at an isolated property with no cell service

Most Read