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

Mission Christmas Bureau needs more gifts for teens

Asking local professionals to rise to the challenge

UPDATE: IHIT confirms identity of Hells Angels homicide victim

Chad John Wilson was one of four men arrested in Spain in 2013 on allegations of smuggling cocaine.

Second person dies following head-on collision in Surrey

Paige Nagata of Abbotsford was in crash on Nov. 4 that also killed Sarah Dhillon

11 years sought for Burnaby man who killed girlfriend with hammer, burned her body

Manslaughter sentencing hearing starts Monday in BC Supreme Court in Chilliwack for Ryan Armstrong

PHOTOS: Fraser Valley Eagle Festival

Mission photographer Bob Friesen shares some of his images with the Record

VIDEO: Two officers of B.C. Legislature escorted out amid investigation

Clerk of the House Craig James, Sergeant-at-arms Gary Lenz on administrative leave

Shirtless stranger loomed over couch and started stabbing, bloody B.C. murder trial hears

Colin John pleads not guilty as trial opens in 2016 Chemainus murder case

Late 2019 too long to wait for ridesharing: B.C. Conservatives

“While the rest of the world is embracing this transportation revolution, B.C. is only now staggering slowly toward legislation on a business model that’s been mainstreamed for over a decade in other jurisdictions.”

Police aim to prevent retaliation after Hells Angel found dead under B.C. bridge

IHIT confirms Chad Wilson, 43, was the victim of a ‘targeted’ homicide

ICBC warns shoppers of the high-accident season at mall parking lots

Over 150,000 accidents happened during the holiday season last year

No deal in sight: Canada Post warns of delivery delays into January

Union holds fifth week of rotating strikes as both sides remain apart on contract negotiations

COLUMN: Higher interest rates will slow B.C. economy after ‘unusually robust’ show

Jock Finlayson is executive vice president and chief policy officer of the Business Council of BC

Jason Aldean, Old Dominion to headline Merritt’s Rockin’ River concerts next summer

Four-day music festival at Coldwater River from Aug. 1 to 4

Police looking into two more incidents at private Toronto all-boys’ school

Police and the school have said two of the prior incidents involved an alleged sexual assault

Most Read