Combating Gang Violence was our presentation topic. Warren Hughes introduced a great program and presentation by Jordan Pelland. Constable Pelland is a member of the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of BC, the task force dedicated to the policing of the area's gang related activities. His presentation focused on the myths and realities of gang life. Continue reading for details!

Jordan has been involved in various aspects of policing over his 13 years on the force. Starting his career in Kelowna in general duty tasks he was later transferred to Vancouver for the Olympics. After this stint he feels fortunate to have remained in the Vancouver area working in the investigation of organized crime for four years before being assigned to the CFSEU-BC's gang enforcement team. Much of his time is now spent talking to kids to help prevent the problem before it starts. His presentation to them focuses on the myths and realities of gang life. Usually he travels with a partner, a former gang member, to give a first hand account of "the life". Together they have created a series of videos that tell the stories of the lives that have been affected by gangs.
The main myth is that by belonging to a gang a young guy will be provided with money, fancy cars, women, power and status. The media glamorizes this but it is far from the truth. The end game for gang members is usually prison or death. Many of them don't live past the age of 30. Executions have played out in public areas such as those at the Executive hotel in Burnaby, the parking lot of a Surrey mall and the Bacon killing in front of an Okanagan resort.
Jordan played a portion of a chilling video in which a young man wishes that would have made a different decision but now it was too late; once you are in there is no way of getting out. He in effect predicted his own death and,sure enough, he met his demise being gunned down while he was sitting in a car with the rest of his family in a parking lot at Metrotown.
Another perpetrated myth is that by joining a gang you become a member of a large supportive family. Quite the opposite; when the going gets tough you are left on your own. Everyone is there to satisfy their own greed. When deemed no longer useful, your "friends"will turn on you and you will be fighting a losing battle. Even in jail gang members are not safe.
Females also play a role. Far from only being the recipients of fancy purses and expensive trinkets and the glory of being a gangster's girlfriend they are prone to the same type of violence faced by the males. More and more of the girlfriends and wives are part of the violence and retribution faced in the lifestyle.
There is a belief that gang murders are a victimless crime and merely a lower class ethnic problem. However many of these kids are products of a sound home and simply start by being involved in dial-a-dope operation. They have little experience in the world of crime and many of their parents are in the dark. After things go bad we are left with  other victims besides the gang members themselves; the parents, spouses, children, other relatives and friends.
During the question-answer period Jordan provided further information:
-gangs are totally a money-making business
-kids are attention seeking and group followers
-they do not necessarily come from broken homes
-the property of crime is subject to civil forfeiture
-Jordan does not seem particularly concerned about his own safety
-intervention is the key to success- parents,schools and the police