'This is not acceptable': B.C. premier calls for community to speak up in wake of gang-related killings
VANCOUVER -- A recent uptick in gang-related violence in B.C.'s Lower Mainland is a major concern, the province's premier said in an appeal for information from the community.
John Horgan spoke to the media Thursday morning and while his comments mostly focused on the COVID-19 pandemic, he also addressed the increase in gang-related homicides in Metro Vancouver.
"The uptick in gang violence in the Lower Mainland is very troubling for all British Columbians," Horgan said, adding that the province's public safety minister has been working on addressing the issue for years.
"I appeal to the community, if you have information that can help with enforcement, if you have information that can help law enforcement and government address these issues, you need to come forward."
Between Jan. 6 and Jan. 9, three people were killed in shootings. The first was in Surrey, while the second two happened in Richmond. Just one week before that, two teens were killed in gang-related shootings.
"The way we curb this is by having the community rise up and saying this is not acceptable. We've had enough of this, we need to curb it, we need to crush it, we need to stamp it out," Horgan said. "But to do that we need people who have information to bring that information forward."
Horgan said the province has also worked with schools to support youth and to "stop the stream of young people going to the gang lifestyle."
"That means making sure that our schools are open, that means making sure that teachers and counsellors and others in the school system have the tools they need to identify and detect challenges with young people and trying to get them back on the right track," he said, saying community education is also key.
"If we stem the flood of people going into the gang lifestyle, that's another way to stamp it out … I'm confident that British Columbians want to see an end to this. We have to stand up and do it together."
Note, Jan. 17: This story has been updated from a previous version which incorrectly stated that the killings happened in December. It has been updated to reflect the fact that they happened in January.