Calgarians have a right to be outraged warring gang members are starting to use the public as their “safety net” in the escalating gang war, according to a crime expert.

Just over a week after innocent bystander Keni Su’a was killed in a New Year’s Day gang shooting, concerns are growing about the rising frequency of shootings in public areas.

University of Calgary gang expert Cathy Prowse said while gang members targeted by rivals formerly hid to avoid being shot, they are now frequenting public places as a “false sense of security.”

“It’s almost becoming like a safety net for them, and unfortunately intended targets can have unintended consequences,” Prowse, a former police officer, warned. “It’s very unsettling and unnerving.”

Prowse said while gang members might believe they’re safer in public, that’s not always the case.

“If the opportunity arises and someone really wants to take them out, they don’t have any regard for where they are or who is around, and they will take their chance,” she added.

That said, Prowse believes the last thing gang members want is to kill an innocent person in the crossfire.

“They don’t want the unwanted attention from the public, and the police, and the politicians,” Prowse said.

“It turns the heat up on them.”

Calgary police spokes­man Kevin Brookwell said while there used to be more anonymity among gangs, it seems more and more they are crossing that line into public viewing.

“(Gang members) have shown they have no regard whatsoever for who or what is around when an opportunity arises, and Calgarians have a right to be outraged,” he said.

Prowse said the violent situation won’t go away overnight.

“It won’t stop until one side takes out the other, or they end up in jail, or they just quit the gang life. It’s not worth it,” she added.

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