The Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of BC (CFSEU-BC) said police are seeing young men and women getting involved in gangs and drug dealing.

CFSEU-BC Supt. Alison Lauren made the comments at a Kelowna press conference Wednesday where police presented the results of a summer gang enforcement blitz in the B.C. interior.

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“We know from people trying to leave gang life that one of the biggest reasons young people join gangs is a sense of belonging. They are drawn by the myth of easy money and a false sense of loyalty from the group. are gone,” Lauren said.

“Gangs use a range of tactics, including music videos and social media, as well as traditional methods such as blackmail, debt or violence to recruit new members.”

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Lauren’s message to the community is that the public has a role to play in fighting organized crime.

“As a community we need to make sure our young people can find a sense of belonging in other ways, whether it’s through strong positive family bonds, sports and school and education, a job or a social club,” Lauren said. be through.” .

“Police cannot end gang life alone and we need the support of the Thompson-Okanagan communities.”

Lauren encouraged those hoping to help a friend or family member leave organized crime to contact police directly.

“You can help the police by calling us and telling us what you know. Every bit of intelligence helps our investigation and helps the police put your friend or family member away from gang life.” provides an opportunity to discuss extraction options,” Lauren said.

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Growing concern over ‘trend’ of youth involved in gang and gun violence

Meanwhile, CFSEU-BC noticed a trend regarding the firearms they were seizing during summer gang enforcement activities in the Okanagan and Kamloops regions: airsoft guns that had been converted to live-fire ammunition. .

“This is a significant concern because airsoft-style firearms are generally much easier to acquire and subject to less regulation,” Lauren said.

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The RCMP has previously expressed concerns about problems caused by airsoft guns because they can easily be confused with real firearms.

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