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Victoria police chief warning parents, school board of gang recruitment near schools

Click to play video: 'Victoria police chief warns about gang recruitment'
Victoria police chief warns about gang recruitment
WATCH: Victoria's police chief is warning families that gangs are recruiting in schools and targeting kids as young as 11 years old. Kylie Stanton reports. – Feb 28, 2024

The chief of the Victoria Police Department is warning community members and educational workers that gangs are actively recruiting students, near school properties.

Chief Del Manak gave a presentation to the Greater Victoria School Board warning that gangs are prevalent in most schools in the region.

Click to play video: 'Victoria police chief warns of gang recruitment from schools'
Victoria police chief warns of gang recruitment from schools

He said gangs are using students to sell drugs and vapes.

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“Most schools in the Greater Victoria area have students involved in these gang-affiliated trafficking schemes,” the police chief said.

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Victoria police arrested an alleged gang member last month, who was accused of recruiting kids in several parking lots that were adjacent to schools.

Click to play video: 'How to talk to your kids about avoiding gang recruitment'
How to talk to your kids about avoiding gang recruitment

“(We) made our first arrest of a gang-affiliated member, who was actively recruiting youth, during a school day,” Manak said.

Manak is calling on the board to reinstate the school liaison officer program, which he says helps steer youth away from joining gangs. The school liaison officer program was ended in a unanimous vote by the school board last year.

“One of our police agencies has reports of drugs being dealt to students as young as 11 years old,” Manak said.

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“Unfortunately, most kids are naive to gang recruitment and by the time they realize they’re working for a gang, they have incurred debt and they’re well on their way to becoming entrenched.”

The school liaison officer program was ended due to concerns that having police officers at schools was having an impact on Black and Indigenous students.

The Greater Victoria School Board decided not to issue a statement after a request for comment from Global News.

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