More youth being radicalized: Edmonton police chief

WATCH ABOVE: At a senate meeting today, Edmonton’s police chief said the radicalized individuals being monitored in Canada are getting younger and younger. Eric Szeto reports.

EDMONTON — The latest security statistics show there are close to 200 radicalized individuals police are monitoring in Canada. At a senate committee meeting on security and defence Monday, Edmonton’s police chief said these radicals are getting younger and younger.

“I think we’ve seen a shift where there is more youth involved and I think that’s a result of social media. Where people younger and younger in the community are exposed to radicalization and radical thought processes,” said Chief Rod Knecht.

“So where that might have historically been through word of mouth or throughout the community, people being radicalized at…a post-high school level or even a post secondary education level, we’re now seeing it permeating lower and lower as far as the age group goes.”

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Knecht added that in Alberta, the biggest shift has been in males aged 18 to 34.

The chief referenced a media report from a couple weeks ago that said a number of youth from the African community had been radicalized. He says there is nothing to substantiate that at this point but the force is looking into it.

Knecht also believes it’s imperative to meet these issues head-on by working with communities and having robust outreach programs that go all the way down to the elementary-school level.

He delved into other topics about terrorism in the region, as well, revealing Edmonton police are working in conjunction with other forces on a number of files.

The biggest challenge, he says, is getting lawful access to computers and handheld devices.

With files from Eric Szeto, Global News

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