ALBERTA

Calgary Shootings Way Up, Police Concerned About Recent Violence

07/22/2015 02:19 EDT | Updated 07/22/2015 02:59 EDT
JoLi Studios AKA Leasepics/Flickr

Calgary police say shootings are way up in Calgary this year, and the majority of them are related to drugs.

A concerned Calgary Police Service addressed the uptick in gun-play on city streets in a press conference Tuesday.

“We have never before seen this kind of accessibility to and prevalence of guns in our community. Disputes over drugs are nothing new, but the use of guns to resolve these disputes has now become the rule instead of the exception,” Staff Sgt. Quinn Jacques told reporters Tuesday.

“Whether it’s during a break-in at a local residence where a registered weapon is stolen, at a smash and grab at a local gun shop, or being smuggled into the country, there is a troubling ease of acquiring guns in Calgary.”

According to a post on the CPS Facebook page, there have been 63 shooting-related incidents in Calgary this year, so far, compared to 54 shooting events in all of 2014.

They said 60 per cent of the incidents are motivated by drugs and a "vast majority" have been targeted attacks.

As well, 25 per cent of the shootings have taken place in the northeast's Ward 5.

Ray Jones, Ward 5 councillor, told CBC News he's worried about the danger to civilians in his community and that many of his constituents have expressed concern.

"At some point in time, we know that there's going to be a random bullet and it's going to hit an innocent bystander," he said.

"And people that have been phoning me have been asking 'what is it that the city of Calgary can do about it? And how can we warn our residents?'"

The violence, however, is not limited between a couple of notorious gangs, like a rash of homicides that occurred between 2002 and 2009, when rival gangs the FOB and FOB Killers were targeting one another.

Instead, said police, the violence is occurring between smaller groups and individuals who come from various ethnic backgrounds and life circumstances.

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“When we talk about groups, they don’t have names, they don’t self-identify, and in this day and age, they don’t have a hierarchy or structure,” Jacques told the Calgary Herald.

He estimates that there are between 60 and 100 people involved in the drug-related conflict.

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Jacques says the Guns & Gangs Unit, along with the Gang Enforcement and Gang Suppression Teams are targeting the groups and people suspected in these shootings and that strategies are being implemented to put an end to the violence.

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