Calgary, AB,

Police update on gun violence

Due to the recent series of violent shootings, stabbings and homicides, the Calgary Police Service wants to reach out to Calgarians to discuss the current situation, the steps being taken to address these problems, and how they can assist.

The CPS Specialized Offender Unit, with Service-wide support, is currently investigating approximately 40 people believed to be involved in at least 55 shootings dating back to 2012, a number of unsolved homicides over the last five years, and at least 17 reported violent home invasions within the last year.

Over 20 people within this group have been charged with more than 100 drug and breach of conditions related offences since September 2016.

Despite significant efforts and resources being dedicated to this issue, police have seen a recent increase in their violent behaviour.

“These are predominantly young men who have zero regard for the safety of others, but even more alarming, have zero regard for their own lives. This makes them extremely dangerous, violent and unpredictable. The risk these individuals pose to bystanders and innocent members of our community is deeply concerning,” says Staff Sgt. Rob Davidson. “Retaliatory violence is entirely impulsive with this group because of their non-traditional structure.”

The violence is typically targeted to individuals within the group as allegiances fluctuate amongst the members. Investigators characterize the group as very disorganized, fluid and lacking the hierarchy and structure of traditional gangs. They do not self-identify under a specific name, or names. Their range of violence includes shootings, kidnappings, assaults, extortions and home invasions.

Traditional gang and gun violence in Calgary can be tied to specific groups who target clearly defined oppositional groups aiming to control the drug trade or criminal activity in Calgary. Investigators believe the recent violence is motivated by perceived personal slights within the group and the desire to live a criminal lifestyle, although drug involvement remains a common factor.

While the overall number of shooting incidents in the first half of 2017 (45) are slightly higher than 2016 (37), the number of guns used and shots fired in these incidents has increased over recent years. There are more incidents involving multiple firearms and multiple rounds discharged. So far this year, more than 100 guns believed to be connected to crime have been seized and analyzed.

The Calgary Police Service has a robust coordinated strategy in place to address this ongoing violence. This strategy involves intelligence, suppression and investigative efforts from more than 15 specialty areas across the Service, along with dedicated analytical support. In addition, frontline patrol officers remain steadfast in their critical incident response to these ongoing incidents.

Information from the public is crucial to these ongoing efforts and the CPS is imploring the public come forward with any information they may have. Something as basic as reports of hearing gunshots can be critical to furthering the ongoing investigative efforts.

“We know people might be scared, but there are ways to provide information anonymously. As Calgarians we need to come together to send a clear message that this kind of activity is not tolerated in our city,” says Staff Sgt. Davidson.

Violent incidents and the individuals responsible for the incidents are a priority focus for the Calgary Police Service. We are dedicated to working collaboratively within our agency, with our external partners in law enforcement and with Calgarians to find lasting solutions.

By The Numbers

  • There have been 45 shooting events to the end of June 2017, compared to 37 during the same time period for 2016. This represents a 22% increase. *A shooting event is comprised of more than one injury or property related shooting incident.
  • Thirty-two of the 45 shooting events are believed to be targeted.
  • It is estimated that 15 of the 45 shootings this year, one-third, are related to the ongoing conflict involving these 40 individuals.
  • Communities within central and northeast Calgary have the highest shooting occurrence rates.
  • Approximately 60 per cent of all shooting events are associated to known criminal affiliations.
  • The majority of shooting events occur during the night on weekends.
  • Approximately 70 per cent of all shooting events are confirmed to be drug related.
  • May 2017 experienced the second highest number of shooting events (13) in a single month for the past two years, and is only surpassed by January 2015 (15).