So the BBC does a trash piece on Vancouver and hilarity ensues.
Solicitor General Kash Heed said Thursday that we have to acknowledge the problem highlighted in the international coverage, while recognizing that a lot has been done to combat gangs.
“We’ve had [a]difficult time. In 2008, we had 29 more homicides on our streets and that is unacceptable,” Heed said in an interview. “But in February of this year, we announced the seven-point gang and organized crime strategy to deal with this violence.”
That plan, which included more cops and more designated prosecutors, resulted in dozens of gang arrests and hundreds of charges in the last few months, Heed said. “We have had recent success.” And there are many other cities in the world with a much worse organized crime problem. But the BBC reports come after a rash of gangland slayings in recent days. Homicide detectives were probing seven new homicides in four days last week alone.
Heed said the B.C. government is still pushing for legislative changes in Ottawa that would aid police in their anti-gang investigations.
“We also believe in taking a balanced approach to this problem so we can get in front of it,” Heed said. “And that includes not only being tough on these gang members and pursuing them aggressively, but being equally tough on the social conditions that breed them. ”
And he said while it is important to focus on the gang problem, it is equally important to take note that overall violent crime is down in B.C.
“My goal is to have the most effective and accountable police service in British Columbia and part of that is to review our processes and our structures to ensure that we are targeting our problems and policing smarter than we ever have before,” Heed said.
Vancouver pollster Angus Reid was in London Thursday, where his company has an office. When his taxi driver heard he was from Vancouver, “he confronted me with the story on Guns, Drugs and Crime that he heard on the BBC,” Reid said in an e-mail.
“It was quite weird really – normally when I come to London … I chat with people who, upon finding I’m from Vancouver, dish out the usual praise ‘what a great city,’” Reid said. “The cabbie told me that he thought Vancouver seemed like Chicago in the 1920s – gunfights on the street, gang wars. It was really a bit of a wake-up call that our international reputation leading up to our “Olympic” moment may not be quite as perfect as we think.”
Kash Heed wants the most effective and accountable police service in BC and will review some stuff in an effort to get smarter. In the meantime, he fails to mention (understand?) that the reason gang violence is up is because police have busted a bunch of the old-time gangsters, who until being arrested basically ran things and kept the underlings in line, and the new young bucks are fighting to be top dogs in the new order. But, hey, he wants to get ahead of things and non-gang violence is down so awesome, see you when we get there.
Angus Reid, in London, is surprised to hear that the prohibition-caused gang wars are perceived as, well, prohibition-caused gang wars. Out of the mouths of taxi drivers…