Bacchus motorcycle gang moves into Halifax area
Despite reputation, neighbour says 'we feel safer with them here'
A notorious biker gang that police say is involved in organized crime has moved into the Halifax region.
The Bacchus Motorcycle Club appears to be cementing its grip in the Halifax area, opening a new clubhouse in Harrietsfield.
The clubhouse has thick fabric covering the windows, but the bikers can see outside thanks to surveillance cameras.
Bacchus is one of Canada's oldest biker clubs, with long-time links to the Hells Angels. Its members have been arrested in raids involving the Angels, and the club is respected in the outlaw biker world.
RCMP have said Bacchus is the second largest outlaw motorcycle gang in Canada, next to the Hells Angels.
Despite its bad reputation, the group seems to be winning over its Harrietsfield neighbours.
Lewis Wile, who works across the road from the clubhouse, said he "loves" having the gang in the neighbourhood.
"[Because] nobody’s gonna bother us … with a biker gang here, nobody messes with us," he said.
Since Bacchus moved in earlier this year, they've cleaned up the property. Neighbours include repair shops and long-time residents like Beverly Smith.
"They're great guys. They don't bother nobody. The neighbours, we feel safer with them here. Like we had a lot of break-ins, stealing cars and that out back but no one does that anymore," she said.
But Julian Sher, the author of several books on organized crime and motorcycle gangs in Canada, warns looks can be deceiving.
"We’ve seen, across the country, drive-by shootings, bombings, murders, and other activities associated with outlaw biker gangs," he said.
Three members of Bacchus are due in Dartmouth provincial court next week, after being caught up in a big police roundup of gang activity last year.
A man inside the Harrietsfield clubhouse told CBC News no one was available for comment Wednesday.