This isn’t a policing issue, this is a policy issue.
In under two weeks, Langley has seen five shooting incidents. One was fatal, one was nearly so. Three involved vehicles. All were brazen, and public, and could have killed an innocent bystander if some random late-night dog walker or shift worker had stepped into the path of a bullet.
The CFSEU, which targets gangs, and IHIT, which investigates murders, are doing what they can, as are local RCMP and police forces across the region.
It’s clearly not enough.
This current gang war is now a dozen years old, it flared up around 2008, and while it has ebbed for months, sometimes years at a time, it’s never really gone away.
Many of the same gangs that were shooting up homes and nightclubs and riddling expensive cars with bullets back then are still around. The old leaders die, or go to jail, or flee the country, and new ones step up, arm up, and go back to murdering one another over drugs.
At some point, B.C.’s politicians are going to have to give us some answers.
What are they doing to stop this?
We don’t need a simplistic tough-on-crime speech and a promise of more cops on the beat. If the elite investigative units need more officers, more resources, more technology, then give it to them.
If the courts need more lawyers and more judges to expedite trials, then do that.
If we need resources to attack the problem at a social level – whether that’s more detox and rehab facilities, or by decriminalizing drugs to cut off the cash that fuels the violence – then get going on that.
A year-long gang war may be a policing problem.
A dozen-year gang war is a political problem. It’s not going to end without political intervention, and everyone from John Horgan down to the backbenchers in the B.C. legislature need to start thinking about solutions.