10/04/2014 05:31 EDT | Updated 12/04/2014 05:59 EST

Organized crime-related homicides down by half in Metro Vancouver: police

VANCOUVER - Police say homicides related to organized crime are down by nearly half in Metro Vancouver despite a recent string of shootings that have raised concerns about gang-related murders.

Staff Sgt. Jennifer Pound of the Integrated Homicide Investigation Unit says 21 per cent of homicide investigations between January and September were connected to organized crime compared to 41 per cent during the same period last year.

Pound says most of IHIT's investigations this year have not been related to organized crime and that motives primarily involved altercations, followed by domestic-related issues.

She says the motive for a homicide is key in determining if it is connected to organized crime, not the individuals' association or involvement with such activities.

Recent shootings have led to concerns about a return to a gang war in the Vancouver area, where shootings spanning several years were a regular occurrence and included the 2007 slayings of six people in a Surrey highrise condo.

Last week, an 18-year-old man was shot in an SUV in Abbotsford and a 16-year-old boy was charged with second-degree murder in connection with the shooting of a 20-year-old man in Burnaby on Sept. 24.