BC gang activity wilting under police heat
Aug 29, 2012
Gang activity in B.C. has wilted under the heat of Lower Mainland police forces, including the Chilliwack RCMP, says UFV criminologist Darryl Plecas.
While the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit has put a “significant dent” in gang leadership, according to CFSEU spokesman Sgt. Bill Whelan, Plecas said “proactive” policing by municipal police forces like those in Chilliwack, Abbotsford and West Vancouver has given new recruits second thoughts about the gang lifestyle.
“They are non-stop in their face,” Plecas said, about how police forces are using “sophisticated analytics” and intelligence software to keep tabs on offenders and to discourage them from a life of crime.
....That’s where Chilliwack’s restorative justice program — also highly praised by Plecas - comes into play.
Young, first-time offenders of non-violent crimes meet their victims through the program, make apologies, pay restitution and perform community service work instead of going to court.
Fewer repeat crimes after the restorative justice experience than those who go court.
“Chilliwack’s restorative justice is as good as it gets,” Plecas said.
But he called for an expanded program — and more funding — to include more adults and those accused of serious crimes.
Plecas said the way to continue holding the gangs at bay is to maintain funding, but there is talk of cutbacks now that murders on B.C. streets have waned and gang leaders are behind bars.
“If we were really smart, we wouldn’t be doing that,” he warned.
Maintaining police funding now will save the government money, he said, and continue winning the war on crime.
“It always comes back to the same issue — committing the resources,” he said.