Police reassure public after four Surrey-area deaths

VANCOUVER — The Globe and Mail

Weapons seized during several gang-related arrests are displayed during a police news conference in Vancouver, March 6, 2009. A new study from Justice Canada says gun-related violent crime may be costing Canadians more than $3 billion a year. (DARRYL DYCK/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Law-enforcement officials held a news conference on Tuesday to reassure the public that people are safe in the wake of four murders in three days near Surrey, B.C.

Manjot Dhillon, 27, was shot and killed Sunday evening and Manjinder (Manny) Hairan, 29, was shot and killed Tuesday morning. Both shootings were gang-related.

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Two 33-year-old men, John McGiveron and Geordie Carlow, were found dead in a Surrey parkade on Sunday night. They were “known to police,” but their murders are not believed to be gang-related.

Sergeant Lindsey Houghton, media relations officer with B.C.’s Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit, said the current gang landscape in B.C. is “extremely dynamic and fluid.”

Unlike several years ago, when many B.C. gangsters publicized themselves by wearing distinctive hoodies, jewelry and tattoos, gangsters are increasingly blending in with the public. This makes it harder for community members and law enforcement officers to identify them.

“Groups and people that we believed were polarized at opposite ends of the spectrum and wanting to kill each other … are now working together for one reason and one reason only: because it’s easier for them to make money and that’s what this is all about,” Sgt. Houghton said.

B.C. experienced a spike in gang-related activity and homicides in 2009. Police responded to the so-called “gang war” by proactively working together to target the most violent gangsters. Sgt. Houghton said B.C. law enforcement agencies will continue sharing information and utilizing technology to ensure 2013 is not a repeat of 2009.

He also encouraged people to remain “vigilant” about reporting suspicious activity in their communities. Gang-related crimes require complex investigations because they rely on witnesses who may not feel comfortable coming forward with information.

With files from Canadian Press

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