Vancouver, British Columbia has been hit by a wave of killings that officials blame on the region's booming drug trade.
The Canadian Press reported Feb. 19 that a dozen shootings over a recent span of 16 days were tied to a shrinking drug market, which has increased competition and violence between gangs. In an incident that officials said shocked even gang members, a young mother was gunned down in suburban Surrey while driving in her car with her four-year-old son.
Some gang members came forward with information on the woman's murder, police said.
“The drug market exploded up until a couple of years ago, which explains why all of a sudden we had so many gangs, so many people wanting to get in on the action,” said criminology professor Darryl Plecas of the University of the Fraser Valley. However, the market for drugs has slumped. “So if you have more people vying for the same market share, then we should expect there's going to be turf wars going on,” he said.
Vancouver is plagued with gangs because “this is where the (marijuana growing operations) started,” added Plecas. “You can't have 20,000 plus grows and not have some fallout.”