In the wake of a number of shootings across Metro Vancouver in recent weeks, including the fatal shooting of a corrections officer in North Delta on May 1, the Delta Police Department is taking a number of steps to try and prevent further violence in the community.
The DPD’s strategy is three-pronged — interdiction, investigation and prevention.
On Saturday, May 15, Delta police launched a new team focused on intercepting any potential gang or related activity and acting as a deterrent through a high-profile presence in public spaces, such as along Scott Road and at popular restaurants.
DPD officers have stepped up visits to locations where gang members are known to frequent and report making some “informative stops” over the weekend, noting individuals who must abide by curfews and conditions are being checked regularly.
The interdiction teams were out last night using the Delta Police Department Van for high visibility. They were doing vehicle stops looking for dial-a dopers and checking locations in the City of Delta for any type of gang activity. #PublicSafety pic.twitter.com/yB74GdLqZy
— Neil Dubord (@ChiefNeilDubord) May 15, 2021
“We’ve had good early feedback on the new team,” DPD Chief Neil Dubord said in a press release Monday afternoon. “Specifically, we heard from restaurant managers and staff, as well as patrons, who welcomed the high-visibility approach.”
Police also share information on known gangsters with restaurants and other businesses via the Inadmissible Patron Program, and the department is continuing to promote the program and work with the community to let gangsters know they are not welcome in Delta.
“The public often wonders if we know who the gangsters are, or know their family members and associates,” Dubord said. “Yes, we do.
“Unfortunately, Delta is not immune from the gang conflict. Gangsters and associates might travel through Delta, or they and family members may live here. Our analysts work closely with intelligence experts from across Metro Vancouver to share information and make sure we are well-informed on the movements of gang members.”
Although the DPD is part of the Lower Mainland Integrated Police Dog Services unit, the department also has its own specialty dog unit that can sniff out firearms, ammunition and drugs. The dogs are working with part of the new high-visibility team, and will be called when suspicious drivers are pulled over.
The @deltapolice have interdiction teams working this weekend as one important part of our strategy to enhance public safety. This is Ziva the DPD Specialty firearm and drug dog with her handler at a vehicle stop tonight i the @CityofDeltaBC #publicsafety #ziva @ci pic.twitter.com/8jVUcj2eYD
— Neil Dubord (@ChiefNeilDubord) May 15, 2021
“The public has a role to play as well,” Dubord said. “If people see vehicles being driven erratically, [or] perhaps they suspect drug dealing is taking place, please call that in to police. Our officers will be following up.”
The DPD’s non-emergency line is 604-946-4411, but people are asked to call 911 if they believe a crime is in progress.
Police say the current gang conflict is defined by an unusual development — the increased involvement of youths.
“Unfortunately, it is estimated that 50 per cent of today’s gang members are in their teens,” Dubord said. “And contrary to what some might think, it’s not poverty that has driven them to crime. These youths typically come from a middle-class background but may suffer from other forms of trauma.”
In order to address the issue, the DPD’s school liaison officers and youth unit are working with the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit BC (CFSEU-BC)’s End Gang Life initiative, the Delta School District and programs such as Yo Bro | Yo Girl Youth Initiative to divert youth from risky activity. Family members and community programs are also key, as the supports must encompass all facets of the youth’s life.
“We started to see an increase in the demand for intervention and preventive steps with youths in 2020, and our officers have only gotten busier as youths struggled with the impact of the pandemic and other related issues,” Dubord said. “But we know the effort we are putting in now will pay off in the long term.”
Dubord urges any parents who may have concerns to reach out to police or through their child’s school.
Delta police are continuing to devote significant resources to investigating the May 1 homicide of Bikramdeep Randhawa.
Randhawa, 29, of Surrey was gunned down in broad daylight outside Scottsdale Centre mall in what police say appears to have been a targeted shooting based on the behaviour of the suspects, though the motive for the shooting remains unknown.
Randhawa, who worked as a corrections officer at Fraser Regional Correctional Centre in Maple Ridge was not known to police.
Police have not released any information about possible suspects or announced any arrests in the case.
“This is a very active investigation, and our officers are co-ordinating their efforts with all police agencies, as well as CFSEU-BC, IHIT (Integrated Homicide Investigation Team), the Real Time Intelligence Centre and the Organized Crime Agency,” Dubord said. “The co-operation between agencies is excellent.”
Police say they have received good information from the public thus far and continue to solicit photos, videos and other information, which can be uploaded directly through a link at the top of the DPD’s homepage (deltapolice.ca).