How Gang Violence is Affecting our Neighbourhood
The citizens of the Lower Mainland of Vancouver are well aware of the drastic increase in gang violence recently. In the month of February alone there were nineteen shootings, eight of which were fatal. The recent shootings have caused many communities to live in fear of gang related violence. However other residents live in fear of the gangsters who have moved into, and now reside in, their neighborhoods.
When gang members move into a neighborhood they cause widespread fear. Many grow ops and crack houses arise while communities are helpless to prevent. Some residents try to prevent the invasion of gang enterprises but only end up victims. In 2007 a women who was fed up with a crack shack in her community confronted the landowner and was beaten repeatedly. Many citizens who are much like this woman feel powerless to prevent these gang “takeovers”. However there is something ordinary citizens can do to take up arms.
Last week Bruce Ralston, the NDP MLA for Whalley, introduced a bill to the legislation. The bill outlines a policy that combats gang distress in neighborhoods. The Safer Communities and Neighborhoods Act (SCAN) gives power to those who previously seemed powerless. SCAN enables residents living near a potential gang house to confidentially complain. After the complaint is filed an investigation takes place to determine if criminal activity is potentially taking place. If the residence under investigation is suspected of criminal activity the house will be shut down by an emergency court order.
Even though our communities are submerged in gang violence we are not powerless to prevent it. The Saver Communities and Neighborhoods Act alone will not solve this increasingly dangerous problem. Our community as a whole must make a stand to support the passing of this bill and to let gangs know they will not be tolerated.
Wintonyk, D. (2009, Feb. 28). RCMP probe two shootings in Surrey, B.C. CTV British Columbia , Retrieved March 17, 2009, from http://www.ctvbc.ctv.ca/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/20090228/BC_surrey_shootings_090228?hub=BritishColumbiaHome