More than 500 calls related to gangs and illegal weapons were received by Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers last year, and with a new surge in activity over the past few weeks, gang experts are hoping these anonymous reports will continue.
According to the Crime Stoppers’ 2020 Impact Report, 401 of the of the 510 last year were related to illegal guns. Twenty-one of them resulted in an arrest, 34 in charges and 17 in weapons being seized.
In addition, more than $2.7 million in property and illicit drugs were seized, including 16 vehicles.
“I am very concerned about the numbers,” Linda Annis, executive director with Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers and Surrey city councillor, said.
“We have seen a spike in gang activity and we all need to do our part to report when we see something suspicious or know something.”
Gang experts admit it can sometimes be difficult to convince someone to come forward, even anonymously.
“They are fearful for their own safety, even the gangsters when they give information, they fear that they are next,” said retired Vancouver police gang squad and Odd Squad member Doug Spencer.
“They are at risk so they are going to do what they have to do to protect themselves”.
The latest targeted shooting in Metro Vancouver took place early Monday morning in Langley, involving a 27-year-old victim.
Since the end of December, there have been six shootings confirmed to be gang-related in the Lower Mainland – five of them fatal.