WITH the press of a button and the crunch of metal and glass, a former gang vehicle was taken out of commission and off of B.C.’s roads – delivering on the Province’s commitment to crime reduction and public safety.
The all-clear signal was given today at ABC Recycling, a junkyard in Burnaby, for a car crusher to turn a purple 1997 Ford Explorer into a heap of scrap. The SUV, once involved in gang-related crime, was destroyed in the latest example of the work B.C.’s Civil Forfeiture Office (CFO) and its public safety partners do to take the instruments of violent crime out of British Columbia’s communities.
On August 7, 2014, Vancouver Police Department (VPD) officers pulled over the Explorer and found an unregistered handgun and ammunition inside. Two of the occupants were charged with firearm and weapons offences related to their alleged involvement in on-going violent gang conflict in Vancouver’s South Slope neighbourhood. Following the investigation, the VPD referred the case to B.C.’s CFO, and the vehicle was successfully forfeited.
In many cases of vehicle forfeiture, the CFO auctions cars and trucks and returns the profits to crime prevention groups around the province. The Explorer was not suitable to sell or donate due to its affiliation with gangs and violent crime. All this work reinforces the purpose and goal of the CFO to undermine the profit motive behind unlawful activity by taking away the tools and proceeds of crime.
Attorney General and Minister of Justice Suzanne Anton said: “Gangs and violent crime can devastate families, communities and the hopes and dreams of young people caught in the crossfire. Through B.C.’s Civil Forfeiture Office, we are actively taking the instruments of violent crime off our roads and out of our communities to make B.C. safer. Today, in destroying this recognizable gang vehicle, we are literally crushing crime in British Columbia, reaffirming the reasons that B.C. currently has our lowest crime rate in decades.”
Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit – British Columbia (CFSEU-BC) Chief Superintendent Kevin Hackett said: “Taking a vehicle used to intimidate the public through violent crime and crushing it into scrap is symbolic of what our members are doing every day – cutting crime and keeping British Columbians safe. The Civil Forfeiture Office has been a key part of our ongoing fight to reduce gang presence in British Columbia, and today, the Province continues to make it clear to criminals that they are not welcome in our communities.”
Vancouver Police Department Superintendent Mike Porteous said: “This vehicle was involved in gun-related offences and associated with on-going violent conflicts in Vancouver, instilling fear in the community. Reducing this vehicle to rubble today will send a strong message to criminals. Thanks to B.C.’s Civil Forfeiture Office for ensuring this vehicle, with its identifiable gang ties, was forfeited and destroyed.”
* The CFO has obtained forfeiture on approximately 250 vehicles, or about 25 a year on average – most with links to drug, gang or organized crime.
* Nearly all vehicles forfeited to government are sold via online auctions open to public bidding.
* Since B.C.’s civil forfeiture program became active, it has returned more than $21 million from successful forfeiture actions to crime prevention and victim compensation.
* The CFO has waived the two-year use term for the forfeited BMW SUV it provided to the CFSEU in 2014. The CFSEU now owns it outright and will continue to use it as an anti-gang tool to engage youth and bring them into conversations with officers about the dangers of crime.