Coquitlam Mounties now have a dedicated team to fight gangs.
The unit was recently formed using existing officers at the detachment that serves Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Anmore and Belcarra.
In an email from Coquitlam RCMP, a spokesperson said the Coquitlam Gang Enforcement Team (CGET) is being used to "enhance targeted enforcement toward those who pose the highest risk to public safety, deterring and disrupting criminal activity while maintaining community safety."
The news of the CGET comes after an organized gang incident on Burke Mountain on May 17 when shots were fired at the shopping strip at David Avenue and Coast Meridian Road; police held a talk with area residents last Saturday (May 27) to calm fears.
@tricitynews Police on Burke Mtn. 🚨 #tricitynews #coquitlam #rcmp #burkemountain ♬ original sound - TriCityNews
The gangs are either working together or against each other and are responsible for much of the drug trafficking in the community, the spokesperson said.
Coquitlam RCMP declined to say how many officers are on the team "due to strategic considerations"; however, the spokesperson said the unit reports to the detachment's community programs and administration officer.
The team is also aligned with other Lower Mainland gang enforcement teams and is working with all policing partners.
Coun. Craig Hodge, chairperson of Coquitlam's community safety advisory committee who also serves on provincial policing groups, told the Tri-City News that he's pleased Coquitlam RCMP now has the gang enforcement patrol.
"Coquitlam remains a very safe community with a low crime rate, but in recent years we have seen an increase in violent crimes — most of which can be attributed to the Lower Mainland gang activity. This is a region-wide problem and many other jurisdictions have established similar police teams," Hodge said.
"This unit will allow for better sharing of information and coordination between multiple detachments including the provincial anti-gang agency. I hope with an increased visibility of officers on our streets, our residents will continue to feel safe and it will act as a deterrent to those who want to engage in gang activity in our community or recruit our youth."