B.C. gang strategy working, Bond says

B.C.'s two-year-old 'gangs and guns' strategy is working, and the province will continue to do its share to maintain it, Public Safety Minister Shirley Bond says.

Red Scorpions gang leader Jonathan Bacon leaved Abbotsford provincial court in 2008 after appearing on drug and weapons charges.

Red Scorpions gang leader Jonathan Bacon leaved Abbotsford provincial court in 2008 after appearing on drug and weapons charges.

VICTORIA – B.C.’s two-year-old “gangs and guns” strategy is working, and the province will continue to do its share to maintain it, Public Safety Minister Shirley Bond says.

Bond issued a statement Tuesday after community leaders questioned whether federal funds for Kelowna’s 16-member anti-gang squad would continue beyond this fall. A similar unit was also set up in Prince George after a string of gang-related shootings in B.C., with a three-year commitment shared by the federal and provincial governments.

“Over 200 organized crime and gang members and associates have been arrested and charged with more than 400 serious offences since we brought in the gangs and guns strategy in February 2009,” Bond said.

“Since 2008-2009 our government invested B.C.’s full $53.3 million share of the Police Officer Recruitment Fund for additional policing positions dedicated to combating gun, gang and organized crime. I can assure you, the province is committed to the continuing funding of these dedicated resources.”

Kelowna was rocked Sunday by a brazen daytime shooting in the driveway of a lakefront hotel. Abbotsford gang leader Jonathan Bacon was killed and a member of the Hells Angels was seriously injured when their Porsche SUV was raked with automatic weapon fire from another vehicle.

Two women in the Porsche were also hit by gunfire, and a fifth occupant, believed to be another drug gang associate, escaped on foot.

Armed gang violence was being reported beyond Metro Vancouver by 2009. At that time, former premier Gordon Campbell announced the Kelowna and Prince George gang and weapon squads, along with $185 million to add 304 more cells to the overcrowded B.C. prison system.

That announcement included 180 spaces at a new Lower Mainland Pre-Trial Centre, which was opposed by Burnaby politicians and moved to an expansion of the existing Surrey Pretrial Centre. It also included 20 more spaces at Prince George Correctional Centre and 104 additional spaces at Alouette Correctional Centre for Women in Maple Ridge.

Later in 2009, B.C. moved to restrict the sale of body armour to law enforcement members and licensed security guards and private investigators.

Kelowna RCMP Supt. Bill McKinnon said in October 2009 that body armour was being used in armed robberies there. Body armour and automatic weapons were becoming popular status symbols for gang members as a way of intimidating rivals, police said.

Just Posted

Police arrest the suspect in an attempted armed bank robbery on June 2 at the Scotiabank at Gladwin Road and South Fraser Way in Abbotsford. (Photo by Garry Amyot)
Abbotsford bank robbery suspect who was stopped by customers faces more charges

Neil Simpson now faces total of eight charges, up from the initial two

Black Press file photo.
COVID exposure recorded at Kent Elementary

Students, families encouraged to keep monitoring for symptoms

A multi-angle rendering of what a potential wayfinding sign would look like. The village is working with several local organizations to create the sign, designed to help tourists find their way around Harrison. (Screenshot/Village of Harrison Hot Springs)
Harrison Council approves wayfinding signs for tourism

Signs to be located at corner of Esplanade and St. Alice

Chilliwack potter Cathy Terepocki (left) and Indigenous enhancement teachers Val Tosoff (striped top) and Christine Seymour (fuchsia coat), along with students at Vedder middle school, look at some of the 500-plus pinch pots on Thursday, June 10 made by the kids to honour the 215 children found at Kamloops Indian Residential School. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Chilliwack students make hundreds of tiny clay pots in honour of 215 Indigenous children

‘I think the healing process has begun,’ says teacher about Vedder middle school project

Kindergarten kids from Evans elementary school in Chilliwack painted rocks with orange hearts and delivered them to Sto:lo Elders Lodge recently after learning about residential schools. (Laura Bridge photo)
Kindergarten class paints rocks with orange hearts in Chilliwack for local elders

‘Compassion and empathy’ being shown by kids learning about residential schools

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials watching U.K.’s Delta variant struggles, ‘may need to slow’ restart plan

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

RCMP Const. Shelby Patton is shown in this undated handout photo. RCMP say that Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over on Saturday morning in Wolseley, east of Regina. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP
Pair charged in Saskatchewan Mountie’s death make first court appearance

Const. Shelby Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over Saturday morning

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

David and Collet Stephan leave for a break during an appeal hearing in Calgary on Thursday, March 9, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Appeal Court rejects stay for Alberta couple facing third trial in son’s death

Pair accused in their earlier trials of not seeking medical attention for their son sooner

Highway notices like this come down effective June 14. Public health restrictions on non-essential travel and commercial operation have hit local businesses in every corner of B.C. (B.C. government)
Province-wide travel back on in B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan

Gathering changes include up to 50 people for outdoor events

Most Read