COLUMN: Ganging up on police

Spending must be managed, but it's too soon to cut back on enforcement that targets organized crime.

Cuts to special police units will eventually mean an increase in organized crime in B.C., and Surrey will be one of the cities most affected.

The province has cut $4.2 million from the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit (CFSEU) and Provincial Major Crime program, slicing a total of 25 investigators from the Outlaw Motorcycle Gang squad and the major crimes’ missing persons and unsolved homicide team.

While spending on policing has to be managed, and policing needs change constantly, it is far too soon to cut back on enforcement which is targeting organized crime. While a number of gang kingpins are in jail, most are either awaiting trial or in the midst of trials. The activities of their gangs continue.

There is money to be made.

The Surrey Six trial is still underway. That particular trial has exposed the way that gang members think.

Their thinking goes: Anyone who is part of a rival gang doesn’t deserve to live, nor in fact do any innocent bystanders who happen to be somewhere near where an execution takes place.

Surrey had a large number of murders last year. Not all of them were gang-related, but many were drug-related. Sometimes low-level drug dealers who aren’t part of gangs are taken out by someone bent on retribution.

The provincial cabinet, which ultimately made the decision to cut money from these policing units, needs to think back to the early months of 2009, when a wave of gangland slayings was underway. Several took place in Surrey.

People were terrified of going to certain locations, given that the crimes often took place in broad daylight. It was pretty obvious that police had no idea of what was coming next.

Several rival gangs were busy shooting at each other. One morning in February, 2009, Nicole Alemy, a woman associated with a gangster, was murdered while driving in Surrey. A four-year-old child was in the back of her vehicle at the time.

Many other shooting incidents took place in Surrey in those few months.

In the first quarter of 2009, more than 20 people were killed and another 40 were wounded in this vicious turf war. Some of those crimes have been solved, but the turf war is far from over.

It is precisely because of special policing units such as the ones that are being cut back that police were able to get more of a handle on the situation.

Surrey RCMP says, because it has a large force, it can absorb the activities of units that are facing cuts. That may be the case, but as has been proven many times, these crimes are not territorial. They take place in many jurisdictions, and combined units which can easily operate anywhere are far more effective.

Several Surrey politicians have suggested that these cuts will hurt. They are correct.

The police officers who are being moved to other units won’t be the ones suffering.

It will be the average people who get caught in middle of turf wars between gangsters, and it will be the young people who get caught up in what they think is a glamorous lifestyle.

Only when it is too late do they realize what they have signed up for – an early grave, beatings, bodily injuries or, in some cases, significant time in jail.

Frank Bucholtz is the editor of the Langley Times. He writes weekly for The Leader.

 

Surrey North Delta Leader

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey bus driver tests positive for COVID-19

Routes he drove have not been disclosed

Surrey mayor denies property tax deferral motion

Councillor’s notice of motion for Surrey property taxes to be deferred until Dec. 2 out of order

Team refunds OK’d for cancelled Surrey Mayor’s Cup soccer tournament

The decision follows the amalgamation of the Central City Breakers club with Surrey Football Club

COVID-19: 4 new deaths, 25 new cases but only in Vancouver Coastal, Fraser Health

A total of 1,291 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus

COVID-19: Don’t get away for Easter weekend, Dr. Bonnie Henry warns

John Horgan, Adrian Dix call 130 faith leaders as holidays approach

COVID-19: Trudeau says 30K ventilators on the way; 3.6M Canadians claim benefits

Canada has seen more than 17,000 cases and at least 345 deaths due to COVID-19

RCMP call on kids to name latest foal recruits

The baby horses names are to start with the letter ‘S’

As Canadians return home amid pandemic, border crossings dip to just 5% of usual traffic

Non-commercial land crossing dipped by 95%, air travel dropped by 96 per cent, according to the CBSA

Logan Boulet Effect: Green Shirt Day calls on Canadians to become organ donors

While social distancing, the day also honours the 16 lives lost in the 2018 Humboldt Broncos Crash

COMMENTARY: Knowing where COVID-19 cases are does not protect you

Dr. Bonnie Henry explains why B.C. withholds community names

B.C. wide burning restrictions come into effect April 16

‘Larger open burns pose an unnecessary risk and could detract from wildfire detection’

B.C. secures motel, hotel rooms for COVID-19 shelter space

Community centres, rooms reserved for pandemic self-isolation

Most Read