CALGARY- Calgary police say a recent string of what they believe to be gang-related shootings are being investigated as high priority cases.
Police say they are redirecting resources to address the recent shootings, including officers from the recently dismantled high-enforcement auto theft team.
A decade ago, Calgary was the scene of a violent turf war between two high-profile criminal gangs: ‘Fresh Off the Boat’ (FOB) and FOB Killers. Police say those gangs were responsible for two dozen murders mostly killing one another. Now, police say dozens of gangs have taken their place and that while they may have a lesser profile, they are no less deadly.
“What you don’t see is people waving gang flags,” said Staff Sergeant Jason Walker with the Calgary Police. “(They aren’t) openly identifying themselves as gang members and that same rigidity that came with that 10 or 12 years ago.”
Police say today’s gangs also trade in guns and drugs and have the capacity to commit murders but unlike before, they’ve learned it’s best to avoid bitter, public rivalries. Calgary cops have also changed how they approach gangs today. Police say increased community involvement is paying dividends.
“Today things have gotten so much better with work from areas like our community youth services youth services section that is a lot more robust than it was 10 or 12 years ago,” said Walker. “And our diversity unit now has relationships with various communities throughout Calgary.”
A major component of the community-based approach is to stop potential recruits from actually joining gangs.
Police say most of the members of FOB and FOB Killers are now either dead, serving prison terms, or in custody awaiting upcoming trials.