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

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

Kenny Podmore, here seen at Sidney’s cenotaph in November, says he feels for the veterans after organizers had to cancel an event acknowledging Victory in Europe (VE) Day for the second time in as many years because of COVID-19. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
North Saanich event marking 75th anniversary of VE-Day cancelled

Sidney resident first planned event for May 9, 2020 moved to May 8 before being cancelled

Individuals and businesses are encouraged to bring their unwanted electronics to Tillicum Centre May 14 to be shredded, recycled or donated. (Black Press Media file photo)
Greater Victoria residents can shred, donate electronics safely

Vancouver Island Better Business Bureau hosts event May 14 at Tillicum Centre

Scheduling popular summer events like the Canada Day celebrations is difficult due to the pandemic. (File - Sooke News Mirror)
Sooke summer events schedule clouded by COVID

Public health guidelines hamper plans

The District of Sooke is looking at new plans to build a fenced dog park at Ponds Park Corridor. (Pixabay.com)
Sooke seeks input on dog park

Public comment welcomed until June 4

Potatoes have two genetic centre of origins, one from the lowlands in Chile and the other from the highlands in Bolivia. The highlands potatoes flower and produce fruit profusely, which is where the seeds come from. They contribute to exciting and ecologically imporant genetic diversity of potatoes. (Submitted/Fiona Hamersley Chambers)
Metchosin farmer shares how to invent a new potato

Using seeds anyone can name their own variety

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

Chilliwack’s Kile Brown, performing as drag queen Hailey Adler, dances and lip syncs in front of hundreds of people during the inaugural Chilliwack Pride Barbecue at the Neighbourhood Learning Centre on Aug. 24, 2019. Monday, May 17 is International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of May 16 to 22

International Day Against Homophobia, Talk Like Yoda Day, Sea Monkey Day all coming up this week

Sinikka Gay Elliott was reported missing on Salt Spring Island on Wednesday, May 12. (Courtesty Salt Spring RCMP)
MISSING: Salt Spring RCMP find woman’s car, still seek Island resident

Sinikka Gay Elliott is 5’3” with a slim build and dark brown short hair

Tagen Marshall of Parksville is looking to raise funds for a new specialized van. (Submitted photo)
Wolf: Parksville’s Tagen Marshall inspires others, aims to invest in himself

VIU honour student with spastic quadriplegia cerebral palsy seeks help achieving big dreams

A Saanich man received almost 10 years in Supreme Court in Courtenay for a shooting incident from 2018. Record file photo
Shooting incident on Island nets almost 10-year sentence

Saanich man was arrested without incident north of Courtenay in 2018

Bradley Priestap in an undated photo provided to the media some time in 2012 by the London Police Service.
Serial sex-offender acquitted of duct tape possession in B.C. provincial court

Ontario sex offender on long-term supervision order was found with one of many ‘rape kit’ items

Rich Coleman, who was responsible for the gaming file off and on from 2001 to 2013, was recalled after his initial testimony to the Cullen Commission last month. (Screenshot)
Coleman questioned over $460K transaction at River Rock during B.C. casinos inquiry

The longtime former Langley MLA was asked about 2011 interview on BC Almanac program

Steven Shearer, <em>Untitled. </em>(Dennis Ha/Courtesy of Steven Shearer)
Vancouver photographer’s billboards taken down after complaints about being ‘disturbing’

‘Context is everything’ when it comes to understanding these images, says visual art professor Catherine Heard

Most Read