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Alberta targets gangs

Provincial officials are putting a hit out on rising gang crime. Promises made in the throne speech were echoed by officials yesterday,who elaborated on commitments to an impending proactive approach to gang culture and fleets of chop-shop armoured vehicles.

Provincial officials are putting a hit out on rising gang crime.

Promises made in the throne speech were echoed by officials yesterday, who elaborated on commitments to an impending proactive approach to gang culture and fleets of chop-shop armoured vehicles.

“We need to take a much broader perspective than just enforcement,” said solicitor general spokesman Andy Weiler, detailing a new four-poster approach of prevention, intervention, awareness and action.

A summit, to be held in late spring, will bring law enforcement officials together with community leaders.

Plans are in place to “tighten rules” around vehicle modifications, like armour-plating, bullet-proof glass and surveillance cameras.

Canadian gang expert and author Michael C. Chettleburgh said he feels it's time the province “put its money where its mouth is” when addressing the growing gang problem in Alberta, and focus on prevention and reintegration over prohibition.

“Virtually everything gangs are doing already is illegal anyway,” Chettleburgh said. “I’m not sure what practical difference it will make.”

Though bulletproofing and securing hiding spots in vehicles is prohibited in Alberta as-is, Chettleburgh said officials are turning a blind eye to chop-shops that are likely fronted and operating within the province.

Infrastructure spokes-man Jerry Bellika said it’s believed vehicles are being armed outside the province.

“The province needs to take responsibility for its own gang issue, and the vibrant demand for drugs, which is what’s creating the growing violence in Alberta,” Chettleburgh said.

Amendments to the Gaming and Liquor Act to help bar owners combat gangs were alluded to in the speech, though details won’t be released until legislation is brought forward formally.

 
 
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