More than 500 anonymous tips about gang-related activities and illegal weapons were received by Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers last year, the organization announced this week – with those tips collectively leading to “several arrests that might not have occurred” otherwise.
According to Crime Stoppers’ 2020 Impact Report, 510 tips were received about illegal guns and gang activity, with 401 of those tips specifically about guns. As a result, 21 arrests were made, 17 weapons seized and 34 charges laid.
In addition, more than $2.7 million in property and illicit drugs were seized last year, including 16 vehicles.
In total, Crime Stoppers received more than 5,017 general tips in 2020, according to the report. That number is down about 100 from 2019. In total, 72 arrests were made – gang-related and otherwise – based on Crime Stoppers tips, and 135 total charges were laid.
“With the spike in recent gang-related activity in the Lower Mainland, Crime Stoppers is urging local residents to keep providing anonymous tips with information that could help police investigate, make more arrests and save lives,” said Linda Annis, executive director of Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers, in a news release issued Tuesday (Jan. 19).
“The new surge in gang crime in the past few weeks is reminiscent of a similar outbreak seen in the Lower Mainland several years ago.
“At that time, Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers responded with a series of ‘Guns and Gangs’ ad campaigns. In all, these campaigns are credited with generating 2,587 tips over the past five years, leading to the arrest of 15 gang members, 111 arrests for illegal weapons offences and 213 guns being seized.”
In recent weeks, gang-related crime has spiked across Metro Vancouver and especially in Surrey. Just after Christmas, 19-year-old Harman Singh Dhesi was found with gunshot wounds in a vehicle in the area of 137A Street and 90 Avenue; he later died in hospital.
Then, a day later, 14-year-old Tequel Willis was shot and killed as he stepped out of a taxi in the 11000-block of 148A Street.
On the morning of Jan. 6, Gary Kang – a prominent Lower Mainland gang member who was known to police – was shot and killed inside his family’s home in the Morgan Heights neighbourhood of South Surrey.