May 28th, 2024

B.C. creates a special homicide unit as gangs involved in 46 per cent of murders

By The Canadian Press on May 9, 2024.

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth speaks during an RCMP news conference announcing a significant seizure of illegal tobacco products in Surrey, B.C., on Friday, March 8, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ethan Cairns

VICTORIA – British Columbia is forming a specialized gang-related homicide investigation team, saying gangland murders now make up almost 50 per cent of the killings in the province.

Data from the Ministry of Public Safety says gang-related homicides have climbed from 21 per cent of all killings in the province in 2003 to 46 per cent last year.

Mike Farnworth, B.C.’s public safety minister and solicitor general, says the new Integrated Gang Homicide Team will investigate gang-connected murders.

He says the 18-member team is expected to be in full operation by late this year or early 2025.

Members of the gang homicide unit will become part of the Lower Mainland’s RCMP-led Integrated Homicide Investigation Team, but will focus on gang cases.

Supt. Mandeep Mooker, the officer in charge of the homicide team, says gang-related homicides are often more time consuming to investigate due to planning by the gangs, witness reluctance and evidence tampering.

“As of December 2023, IHIT reported 356 unsolved homicides,” the government says in a news release.

“The establishment of the new Integrated Gang Homicide Team will strengthen investigative capabilities, enabling IHIT to redirect team members to focus on these cases.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 9, 2024.

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