Government increasing spend on Gang Violence in BC

Since 2003, gang-related homicides in British Columbia have risen, climbing from 21% of B.C. homicides to 46% in 2023. Gang-related homicides present unique challenges due to evidence tampering and witness reluctance, making them more time-consuming and resource-intensive to investigate.

As of December 2023, IHIT reported 356 unsolved homicides. The establishment of the new Integrated Gang Homicide Team will strengthen investigative capabilities, enabling IHIT to redirect team members to focus on these cases.

Under the federal government’s Initiative to Take Action Against Gun and Gang Violence, the B.C. government has received $10.9 million from Public Safety Canada for the 2023-24 fiscal year. The funding will go toward anti-gang and crime initiatives throughout the province, including the Organized Crime Agency of BC, Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers, and the New Westminster Police Department’s Gang Suppression Unit.

Significant investments continue for enhanced and specialized enforcement activities related to guns, gangs and illicit drug trafficking throughout British Columbia. Every year, $100 million is invested to bolster provincial firearm forensic capabilities, strengthen gang enforcement and suppression initiatives, and support community-based prevention and intervention programs.

“Gang violence and organized crime impacts all of us, and we are co-ordinating with local, provincial and federal agencies to ensure we are taking the right steps to keep people safe and hold those responsible for gang-related activities accountable for their actions,” said Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. “This is a top priority for our government. We are continuing to work alongside our policing partners to curb gang violence, and the development of this team is an important step forward in this collective responsibility.”

Building on the Province’s ongoing efforts to prioritize strong prevention, intervention, intelligence and enforcement initiatives, a new Integrated Gang Homicide Team (IGHT) is being created in the Lower Mainland. The team will focus on investigating gang-related homicides and improving intelligence co-ordination related to gang activities.

The new team is part of B.C.’s comprehensive gun and gang strategy, and will leverage experts from agencies, including B.C.’s Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit (CFSEU-BC), the Organized Crime Agency of British Columbia (OCABC) and the RCMP’s Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT). The new team will prioritize complex gang-related homicide files in order to hold individuals accountable and disrupt gang activity in the Lower Mainland.

“For over 20 years, we have utilized an integrated policing approach, successfully investigating and prosecuting those responsible for the most egregious crimes, including members of organized crime groups who have, time and again, neglected public safety in furtherance of their own personal agendas,” said Supt. Mandeep Mooker, officer in charge of IHIT. “Now in 2024, as the gang landscape evolves, so must our approach to keeping Canadians safe.”

Quick Facts:

IGHT is expected to reach full operational capacity by late 2024 or early 2025.
IGHT will have 18 positions, including 12 new positions within OCABC (five civilian support personnel and seven police), as well as five existing RCMP members from CFSEU-BC, and a team commander.
All positions will be seconded into the RCMP-led IHIT and operate under the leadership of an existing IHIT member.
IGHT will form part of IHIT and investigate priority gang homicide files in IHIT jurisdictions.

May 10, 2024 10:11 AM