British Columbia

Gangster list should be released publicly, police say

Police are seeking legislative changes to allow an internal list of prolific B.C. gangsters to be publicly released.

RCMP wants to name and shame prolific gang members

Critics say naming gangs dangerous

CBC News Vancouver at 6

8 years ago
Some do not believe releasing photos of gang members will work 2:19

Police are seeking legislative changes to allow a list of known gangsters in the province to be publicly released.

The renewed vow to name gang associates came after a targeted gang-related killing at a busy shopping area in South Surrey Wednesday.

Surrey RCMP Chief Supt. Bill Fordy said he was disturbed by the brazen attack.

"The fact that somebody would sneak up on another man, in a public venue or public setting, in the presence of children is disgusting," he said.

Fordy now wants to send his department's officers to meet up with known gang members in the bars, restaurants and gyms they frequent to send them a message: "You are not welcome here and we do not want your dirty money," Fordy said.

The RCMP says it will assist businesses who decide to turn gang members away.

Private list should be public

The RCMP also says a list of gang members and associates is now in the hands of every police officer in the province.

Chief Supt. Dan Malo, with the B.C. Integrated Gang Task Force, would like to make the list of the most prolific gangsters public, and is seeking changes in legislation to allow it.

"We've had enough of people wandering though our communities where we all know that they're drug dealers, we all know that they live through the proceeds of crime, we all know they're befriending businesses openly accepting their money," Malo said.

Kash Heed says his 'adopt-a-gangster' program helped reduce public gang shootings in South Vancouver years ago. (CBC)

Former West Vancouver Police Chief Kash Heed said maintaining a public list of gang members is something he called for years ago.

"My response from law enforcement officials at that time was, 'Oh no, we can't do it,' instead of saying, 'Let's see how we can do it,' so now they're looking for an excuse: 'Oh, we don't have the legislation in place,'" Heed said.

When he was a member of the Vancouver Police Department, Heed launched an 'Adopt-a-Gangster' in South Vancouver. Members of the force went to speak to everyone who knew or dealt with known gangsters in the area.

Heed said after the program launched he saw an 80 per cent drop in gang-related violence and shootings in South Vancouver.

"It's one example of program that has been successful and, to my knowledge right now, is not being used. There are other unique programs and responses we could utilize here in British Columbia that have been proven elsewhere," Heed said.

"We're just doing the same thing, we're responding the same way. For many many years, for 10 years actually, I've been calling for us to think outside of the traditional paradigm response of this problem and have a comprehensive program," he said.

Former gangster says plan is 'dangerous'

But a former gang member, who spent time in prison, says the plan to name known gangsters is too dangerous for employees in bars, restaurants and gyms.

"You put that onto a normal Joe... they have to phone the police or get involved... and then the gang members will just look at that as you're a rat, ratting on me," said Jim Mandelin.

 "And then what? 'I will come back and I will fix you.' That's gang warfare."

With files from the CBC's Susana da Silva and Theresa Lalonde and Jesara Sinclair