Crime Stoppers unveils ads targeting gangsters' girlfriends
Dubbed the "most unfashionable fashion show you've ever seen," Crime Stoppers unveiled a new campaign targeting the girlfriends of Metro Vancouver gang members.
The organization, alongside Bar Watch and the Vancouver Police Department, launched their new advertising campaign "I Stashed My Boyfriend's Gun" at The Roxy on Friday.
"The idea is to do something very, very unique and get the attention of people," said Linda Annis, the executive director of Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers.
The ad launch featured women dressed in fake prison garb walking along a runway, highlighting their prison-made toothbrush earrings, used tea bag necklaces and rubber glove hair accessories.
"Suddenly you're trading in your Jimmy Choo shoes for your duct tape flip flops," she said.
The concept, Annis says, is to highlight how a seemingly glamorous life can change quickly.
"The glam-glam is the start. From there, it's downhill. Often times you can get lured into sex trades, you can be abused physically, you can be running dope for your boyfriend, carrying his gun. None of that has a good outcome," she said.
Girlfriends of gang members have been often caught in the crosshairs of the ongoing Lower Mainland gang wars.
In Kelowna in 2011, one woman was left paralyzed when a trio of men opened fire on the car she was in that was also carrying Jonathan Bacon and Hells Angels member Larry Amero.
Annis says as a result of Crime Stoppers tips, 200 weapons have been seized and 110 arrests have been made in the past three years.
Bar Watch chairman Curtis Robinson emphasized the importance of raising awareness about the consequences of dating a drug dealer or gangster among young people.
"By the time the party is over, what are you left with?" he said. "A dead-end street. Your loser boyfriend is dead or in jail, now you're on your own, you've probably lost your friends and there's no options for you in the real world."
The ads will appear on 500 billboards and transit shelters, and will also be posted in malls, gyms and restaurants.
With a report from CTV’s Shannon Paterson