In the last few months a police presence has been on the rise in the VLA. Tips have been coming in about illegal activity, resulting in an increase in search warrants. But is it a gang problem? Cpl. Craig Douglass with the Prince George RCMP says police aren’t convinced.
“Do we have a gang issue per say here? Not necessarily. Certainly there are those persons that have influence over the drug trade here and we do see violence as a result of that from time to time.”
However, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, Mike Morris, has a different opinion.
“Prince George has been quite active with respect to gang and drug activity and you know the detachment handle a lot of gang related files and a lot of drug activity files as well.”
Since the beginning of 2016 the RCMP have been busy with drug busts in the VLA. The busts that took place last Thursday mark the sixth of the year in the area. As a result six people were arrested.
Last week Minister Morris announced $23 million in funding over three years to fight the gang violence in BC. And while Surrey was singled out, Minister Morris says Prince George will see a piece of the pie.
“This is a provincial unit. So this $23 million dollars will address gang activity throughout the province. This is a very mobile unit. And while the majority of them are in the lower mainland they travel up to Prince George quite often. They work in Quesnel, Dawson creek fort st john. Where ever they are needed, they’re quite a mobile unit.”
Meanwhile, Cpl. Douglass says the RCMP will continue to crack down on crime.
“We will continue to actively seek out and purse persons responsible for the drug trade. It causes a lot of harm in this community and we are targeting those persons. We’ll have a lot more warrants in the months and the weeks to come.”
The province says it hopes to get a handle on organized crime in the next three years.