Image from video message for gangsters and their families from B.C.'s anti-gang task force.

Police campaign plays guilt card on gangsters

Posters, videos of grieving kids rolled out by B.C.'s anti-gang task force



In a new bid to shatter B.C.’s gang culture, police are now targeting what they think is the soft underbelly of hardened gangsters – their guilt at the anguish they may cause loved ones if they die.

Posters, videos and radio messages released Wednesday depict grieving children at the graves of gunned-down gangsters, including a tiny blonde girl leaving behind a card that says “I miss you Daddy.”

It ends with the tag line “Wouldn’t you rather she look up to you?”

One video shows a girl sitting on a swing above the covered corpse of her gangster father.

The campaign dubbed End Gang Life, complete with a website at endganglife.ca, is the latest brainchild of Sgt. Lindsey Houghton of the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of B.C. (CFSEU).

Officers with the anti-gang unit say violent criminals have no fear of jail nor often their own death, but may be swayed at the thought of causing pain to those they love.

A quarter of gang-related murder victims in the past eight years were parents, Houghton said.

“No child should have to grow up without their parents because of gangs and organized crime.”

It’s no coincidence the campaign is rolling out just before Christmas.

“We know that families and friends gather during this season,” said Chief Supt. Dan Malo, the CFSEU’s head. “We hope that this campaign will spark some conversations between families, between friends, between siblings – people pulling towards this lifestyle.”

Malo said CFSEU officers have underscored the campaign message by visiting several known prolific violent gangsters this week to warn them that they will be relentlessly targeted by police until they leave the gang life.

Academics, other experts and ex-gang members helped devise the emotionally charged messages.

Malo rejected suggestions that some gangsters leaving the lifestyle simply make room for new recruits, drawn by easy money, as long as drug prohibition exists.

“Gang lifestyle is a behaviour,” he said, adding a focus on changing that behaviour will be more productive than debates about the supply of drugs.

Malo said the campaign is not a response to the record number of murders in Surrey – 23 so far this year.

He didn’t have statistics on gang-related homicides across the Lower Mainland, but said gang violence is “heading towards historical lows” compared to the spike in gangland mayhem of 2007-2008.

Justice Minister Suzanne Anton said she doesn’t read too much into the jump in murders in Surrey or focus on city-by-city statistics.

“It could be Surrey one year and another place the next,” she said, adding the issue has to be considered regionally.

“The crime rate is at a historic low,” Anton added.

The CFSEU plans to roll out new posters and other media every four months over two years.

Anton urged caring family and friends to press the gangsters to leave the lifestyle.

“Let’s have families tell their gang members to get out of there. You get killed, you leave behind your family, you leave behind the people who love you.”

Just Posted

Parking changes may be coming to Clayton Heights

Surrey Council to decide on pilot project

White Rock honeybee deaths prompt inspection by KPU prof

Researcher Cameron Lait unable to provide diagnosis due to lack of evidence – but has a theory

Cyclist reportedly struck by vehicle in Surrey

Man was rushed to hospital after incident on 104 Avenue

Students, volunteers plant 300 trees in White Rock park

City partnership to ‘mimic the natural growth’ of Ruth Johnson Park

Greta Thunberg meets with First Nations chief in Fort McMurray

Thunberg has turned her protest against climate change into a global movement

Canucks hang on for 3-2 win over Rangers in New York

Vancouver scores three times in first period

More beef products recalled due to possible E. coli contamination

The food safety watchdog has been investigating possible E. coli 0157:H7

B.C. VIEWS: How to get the best deal on your ICBC car insurance

ICBC slowly being dragged into the 21st century

Man killed in Richmond had ‘no record of criminality,’ IHIT says

Stephen Chong, 58, was found dead in his business

Pot legalization has gone ‘well’, but ‘yellow flags’ on vaping: task force chair

Canada legalized cannabis for non-medical use on Oct. 17, 2018,

Most Read