Wednesday, November 07, 2007

 

How much B.C. crime is gang-related?

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After the 19th and 20th Vancouver murders for 2007, Vancouver Sun is gathering its forces to address the issue of gangs. According to Vancouver Sun, all violence arising out of corruption may be blamed on gangs. The police are reported, too, as seeing the killing-episodes in envelopes, each envelope marked with a gang's name, with predictable schedules based upon current gang activities. But there are wider, deeper, bigger elements at play in British Columbia. There are several gang-related articles in today's Vancouver Sun. - BC Mary.

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ANALYSIS - KILLERS WILL MOST LIKELY NEVER BE CAUGHT

Chad Skelton
Vancouver Sun - November 06, 2007

ANALYSIS - Vancouver police say they are working hard to find out who's responsible for the killing of two young men at Granville and 70th Avenue early Tuesday morning in what appears to be the latest in a series of gang-related hits.

But if history is any guide, those responsible for the crime - like most gangland killers - will never be caught. According to figures released last month by Statistics Canada, only 45 per cent of gang-related killings in Canada in 2006 were solved by police, compared to 80 per cent of non-gang homicides.

The figures are even worse in B.C., with just 39 per cent of gang-related killings cleared by police (compared to 68 per cent of non-gang homicides). And this year is unlikely to be any better. Police have so far made arrests in virtually none of the high-profile gang murders this year - including the August shooting death of two people at the Fortune Happiness restaurant in Vancouver and the slaying last month of six people, including two innocent bystanders, at an apartment in Whalley.

Police and prosecutors say gang-related homicides are particularly tough to investigate and bring to trial.

At a news conference Tuesday, Vancouver police department spokesman Const. Tim Fanning said investigating such cases is "very difficult [because] the people that are involved in gang activity aren't ones to come forward to the police."

And witnesses who aren't gang members are often too afraid to come forward. "For any organized crime case, whether it's homicide or otherwise, the difficulty in the prosecution is getting witnesses to cooperate," said Mark Levitz, a provincial Crown counsel who works on organized-crime cases. "They're afraid of retribution."

In some cases, said Levitz, witnesses are directly threatened by a gang member to keep quiet. But often that's not necessary, he said, because people simply assume that testifying against a gang is dangerous. "Many gangs have reputations for fear and intimidation, so because of that reputation people are afraid to testify," said Levitz. {Snip} ...

That means police often have to work harder to dig up corroborating evidence that will back up what the witness is saying, said Levitz.

Yvon Dandurand, a criminologist at the University College of the Fraser Valley, said witness cooperation can be a particular problem among immigrant groups who have come from countries where police are corrupt or incompetent.

"In the minds of some people, in particular ethnic groups, the thing they think of is: 'If I go to the police ... can they actually protect me?'" he said. Dandurand said that reluctance is a problem because police need such people to come forward if they want to crack cases involving ethnic gangs. "The people who are most likely to help you solve crime and maintain law and order are the people who are in contact with these organized [crime] groups and are not sympathetic," he said. {Snip} ...

... an internal RCMP report on organized crime produced earlier this year noted that the number of gang- and drug-related homicides in B.C. has remained relatively stable over the past four years, at about 30 per year.

"These data suggest that if violent dispute-resolution is a common feature of organized crime, the landscape for this criminal activity has remained relatively constant," the report stated.

And figures collected by Statistics Canada suggest that gang-related killings make up a smaller share of murders in B.C. than in other parts of the country. In 2006, just 12 per cent of B.C. murders were gang-related, compared to a national average of 17 per cent and a high of 27 per cent in Quebec.

Dandurand said gang killings can often appear to be on the increase because they typically come in spurts, a cycle of payback and retribution that can take awhile to calm down. "If you're in a criminal organization and someone shoots one of your guys, there's no way you can leave that unpunished," he said. "If there's one gang assassination, [police] start preparing for the next one."

cskelton@png.canwest.com

http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/story.html?id=8b349700-0166-4389-8ea2-73696fee1c4a

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Comments:
Recently John Les said, that BC. doesn't need a provincial police force. What a copp out! Over the past decade there has been a dozen special task forces, all failures!The shamfully demoted Rich Coleman,(who is a former cop and thankfully he never made detective)is proof of this! Why, because the VPD are in up to their eyeballs in corruption! And the Liberals are the biggist criminal organization in Canada! A 'not going to take it anymore, revolution!' anyone?
 
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Hi Anon 11:00,

A small point, but what do you mean by VPD ... ?

It's like VGH which always, I thought, meant Vancouver General Hospital until I discovered that it also means Victoria General Hospital.

What's in a name, eh? I can't even sort out what's "a Liberal" when you're in B.C., when it might mean mostly Reform, Alliance, and Socreds with a few old B.C. Liberals thrown in as ballast.

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Put today's two stories together and you get a possible solution: gangs clean up the PR industry.
 
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