ABBOTSFORD Police on Thursday said that in recent days there has been increased tensions between the two groups of youths involved in an ongoing dispute in West Abbotsford. This dispute had subsided, particularly through the end of July, but began to show signs of volatility again in early August.
As a result, the Abbotsford Police Department responded with high visibility enforcement in the area and coordinated meetings with community leaders and family members behind the scenes. Much of the enforcement resulted in interdicting and suppressing potential incidents before they could occur.
This week police installed security cameras in key locations to act as additional deterrents. Constable Ian MacDonald said: “Enforcement and partnership with the community will continue as our primary means to diffuse this conflict. We sincerely appreciate the assistance we have received from concerned citizens and community leaders regarding this public safety matter. The APD continues to encourage people to immediately report any suspicious activity believed to be connected to this conflict.”
IN July, The VOICE reported: “Abbotsford Police are urging parents and families to cooperate with them to end an ongoing conflict between two South Asian groups of males aged 15-25 in Abbotsford that has caused massive damage to homes and vehicles and that could result in serious injuries sooner or later.
“Since May 11, there have been over 25 reported incidents involving conflict between two groups of youths and young adults in the area of West Abbotsford. Thousands of dollars damage has been done to homes and vehicles in a dispute involving males aged 15 to 25. The majority of persons involved are South Asian.
“Constable Ian MacDonald told The VOICE on [July 7] that there is, however, no gang involvement.
He said: “We have recommended assault charges against two young men but otherwise we are largely without cooperation.”
He said Abbotsford Police Chief Bob Rich has reached out to two gurdwaras to help in diffusing the situation. He sent the gurdwaras’ leaders a letter “making them aware of what we were doing through the media in the form of a press release and giving them a little bit of background on what is going on and asking them for their assistance as well,” said MacDonald.
“ … These incidents have predominantly taken place late at night and it appears that the conflict involves two groups comprised of 20 or more associates. There have been a small number of actual face-to-face confrontations between members of each group.
“However, most of the activity to date has involved damage to homes or vehicles connected in some way to participants in the conflict. This includes property belonging to family and friends. It also appears that there is a pattern of incidents and retaliations over this two-month period.”