Gangs and Organized Crime affect the daily lives of all Canadians. Higher health care costs, higher taxes, higher policing costs, and higher utility and insurance rates are just a few of the obvious implications for the average Canadian. In fact, it is estimated that economic-related organized crime costs Canadians $5 billion every year, or about $600 a year for a family of four. This figure does not include the costs associated to other crimes such as drugs and counterfeit goods that organized crime and gangs are involved in.
Gangs and Organized Crime have a presence in Port Moody, as they do in most Lower Mainland communities. For most people, Port Moody is an attractive and safe place to live. Because of this, some organized criminals and gangsters have chosen to live or do business in our community.
Identifying and monitoring these persons and groups is a priority for the Port Moody Police Department. Robust partnerships with other policing entities that have the specific mandate to target organized crime and gangs have been established and intelligence is shared on a daily basis. The Port Moody Police Department will seize every opportunity to target these individuals or groups for their criminal activities and increase the livability of our community. Recently, the Port Moody Police Department launched its own Patrol-based anti-gang initiative that identifies and monitors gang members in Port Moody.
In addition, our Youth Services Section has established roots in the schools and on the streets with our youth with a view to identifying “at-risk” youth and preventing gang involvement as early as possible. Working with other police agencies, service providers, and the community, the Port Moody Police Department is committed to disrupting the criminal activities of gangs and Organized Crime in our City.
Individuals are attracted to gangs because they offer:
- a sense of belonging;
- money; and
Most parents and teachers are seeing some of the signs that teenagers may be involved in gang activities:
- wearing specific colours or emblems;
- use of hand signals;
- suddenly performs poorly in school and unexplained absences;
- argumentative with teachers and parents;
- show signs of, or admits to, tobacco, alcohol or drug use;
- new friends with questionable habits and attitudes;
- claim they need to carry a knife or other weapon for protection;
- surprise purchases of expensive items with no explanation on how these items were paid for;
- now wearing tattoos which are out of character from his/her past history;
- draw gang graffiti on bedroom walls and books;
- staying out without good reason;
- associating with known or suspected gang members;
- brag about having a negative interaction with the police; and
- arrested by the police for vandalism or other delinquent behaviour.
To assist in preventing gang activities by teenagers, parents must:
- learn about gangs and signs of gang activities;
- join others to keep neighbourhoods gang free;
- discuss with your teenager gangs and associated problems they create;
- tell your teenager that you disapprove of gangs;
- tell your teenager that you are concerned for their safety and the safety of your family;
- spend quality time with your teenager and get involved with their education;
- be a positive role model for your teenager by talking and listening to them. Spend special time with them;
- place a high value on education and help your teenager so they can do their best in school;
- help identify good role models for your teenager;
- praise them for doing well and encourage them to do their very best;
- involve your teenager in supervised, positive group activities;
- get to know all your teenager’s friends and their parents;
- teach your teenager how to cope with peer pressure;
- teach your teenager good conflict resolution skills; and
- continually inquiry about your teenager’s whereabouts.
The Port Moody Police Department’s Community Policing Section or the Youth Services Section are available to provide assistance and suggestion to parents who have questions about gangs and anti-gang programs. They can be contacted at 604-461-3456.
For more information on Gangs and Gang Activities, we would recommend that you visit this website http://www.safecanada.ca/