RCMP bolster gang units in bid to stem surge in public executions
VANCOUVER -- Including the latest murder at a Burnaby shopping centre, seven people have now been shot dead in public settings in Metro Vancouver since mid-April.
The latest surge in gun violence flared April 17, when Harpreet Singh Dhaliwal was gunned down on the seawall near a restaurant in Vancouver’s Coal Harbour neighbourhood.
On Thursday evening at 8:30, someone opened fire and shot three people in the parking lot at Market Crossing in Burnaby.
23-year-old Jaskeert Kalkat died and a second man and a woman went to hospital with what police describe as severe injuries.
At the time of the shooting, many businesses in the shopping complex were still open, including a Cactus Club restaurant where dozens of people were dining on an outdoor patio just steps from where the shots rang out.
“Aggressive, targeted policing right now is what’s required,” SFU criminologist Rob Gordon told CTV News Vancouver. “What’s required here at this time is not more social workers, but more police officers engaged in targeted, intelligence-led policing.”
Burnaby RCMP are already deploying that strategy. The detachment created a dedicated gang unit in January, and is now bolstering that unit with extra officers.
“We are immediately supplementing with additional resources throughout this weekend and will look to do so moving forward,” said Supt. Graham de La Gorgendiere, the detachment’s acting officer in charge. “We have other units, such as our community response team, which will be redeployed to focus on this initiative.”
On Friday, B.C. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth revealed the province recently hired four new Crown prosecutors dedicated specifically to gang crime.
Gordon doesn’t see that move having an immediate impact on the ongoing violence.
“Whether or not more Crown prosecutors will cast a new form of terror into the minds and hearts of these individuals is doubtful,” he said.
In the meantime, it is the criminals inflicting terror on a Metro Vancouver public coming to terms with the reality that deadly gun violence could erupt anywhere at any time.