Calgary Police Complain Gang Crimes Harder to Track When There Are No Gangs

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Calgary Police Complain Gang Crimes Harder to Track When There Are No Gangs

What others might see as a sign of success is being interpreted—by some members of the Calgary Police Service, at any rate—as a tough challenge that they might not be entirely prepared for.

Some simple backstory: there used to be two big gangs in Calgary, the FOB and the FK, who controlled most of the drug trafficking and selling within the city and the surrounding area. The rivalry between these gangs was responsible for virtually all of the gun violence the city witnessed in the first decade or so of the twenty-first century, and dismantling these gangs through both a top-down approach (investigating, arresting, and prosecuting the gangs' leadership) and from the bottom up (outreach and intervention programs that steered at-risk youth away from gang membership and related activities) became a top priority for the Calgary Police and other public officials and programs.

These days, the FOB and FK gangs are non-existent; law enforcement and, more importantly, social outreach programs that strengthened Calgary communities and created greater inclusiveness and opportunities for youths at risk of gang affiliation, were successful in their efforts to dismantle these organizations. Violence in Calgary has dropped significantly, gangs no longer control any Calgary neighborhoods, and the appeal of gangs to youths who don't have a strong sense of belonging has been all but washed away.

In short, the good guys won, and everyone in Calgary should be pretty happy about it….unless you're in law enforcement and have to work harder to detect the fewer and less-organized crimes that are taking place.

Calgary's former big gangs were supported by the drug trade, and though these gangs have been dismantled the demand for drugs remains largely the same. This isn't surprising; the most cursory look at the use of intoxicants throughout human history shows that people want them whether or not they are legal. Getting rid of the big organizations that catered to this demand necessarily means that smaller organizations and/or looser associations will pop up to fill that void.

In other words, Calgary Police should have seen this coming, and instead of fear mongering about the new difficulties in pursuing alleged criminals who are less active and less organized, they should be looking at ways to reduce violence by removing the incentives for that violence (i.e. the criminalization of drugs). We've already succeeded in making our city safer by eliminating the two largest criminal organizations operating in Calgary; let's build on that success and take the next step towards completely eliminating gang-related activity rather than looking at the fact that there's less crime to investigate as a step backwards.

If you or a family member has been charged with a gang-related crime, or a drug-related offence, or any other criminal matter in the Greater Calgary Area, please contact my office today to get the sane, competent, and compassionate defence you deserve.