VIDEO: Most Lower Mainland gang members live in Abbotsford, says police chief

VIDEO: Most Lower Mainland gang members live in Abbotsford, says police chief

Forum held Friday night addresses violence in region

The majority of young people involved in the current Lower Mainland gang conflict reside in Abbotsford, Police Chief Bob Rich told the crowd attending a community forum on Friday night.

Later in the evening, a map was shown with approximately 70 red dots to indicate the number of gang members living in Abbotsford.

But Rich – and other speakers – said police are taking a proactive approach to reducing those numbers and preventing young people from becoming involved.

“How do we stop losing that young person from our community? We are going to have to work very hard, as a community, to stop our young people from having their lives destroyed because, trust me, the gangs are actively recruiting your young people to get them to join their group,” Rich said.

The Abbotsford Police Department (APD) hosted the forum, held mainly in Punjabi, at W. J. Mouat Secondary in response to the gang conflict, which first began locally three years ago.

At that time, the APD called it the Townline Hill conflict, named for the area of west Abbotsford where most of the violence was occurring.

The battle has involved young men, primarily of South Asian descent, who are battling over drug territory.

The conflict has resulted in numerous shootings and more than half a dozen murders in Abbotsford alone.

In recent months, police have begun referring to the issue as the Lower Mainland gang conflict because it has spread across the region and even into other provinces.

Speaking at the forum, Abbotsford Police Sgt. Dan Culbertson said a disproportionate number of the gang members live with their families.

“Therefore, the violence poses a significant safety risk to both the individual, the families and the community as a whole,” he said.

Culbertson said the APD has taken a number of steps to address the violence, including street checks of offenders, curfew checks, home visits, targeted area patrols, arrests/seizures and checks of bars, restaurants and gyms.

Sgt. Vic Gamboa, who heads the gang enforcement team, said: “We spend time where we believe we’re going to find them (gangsters).”

Sgt. Jag Khosa with the regional Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit, said police have become more proactive in their approach to gangs.

He said the “code of silence” that initially existed among gangsters’ family members is no longer an issue.

“Those barriers are now gone … The community is now talking to us.”

Khosa shared a story of how young men become attracted to the gang lifestyle. He met for coffee with a 17-year-old boy who was entering the drug trade, and asked him why he was doing so.

“He said he wants to make lots of money … ‘I want a penthouse in downtown Vancouver. I want a fancy car. I want 15 girls around me.’ ”

The teen told Khosa that he planned to make $6,000 a week selling drugs.

“We know he’s not going to make that money. He’s going to die or he’s going to go to jail. The people he’s working for, why would they want him to make that kind of money?”

Khosa urged the community to continue to work together in reporting and preventing crime.

“We’re all working together – and we have to work together. There is no other way.”

Gamboa said officers are available to meet with concerned family members at any time to discuss a loved one, and arrangements can be made to meet discreetly.

Anyone wanting to talk or who needs help or advice can call 604-864-4777 or email


Each red dot incidates a gang associate living in Abbotsford. There are about 70 in total, including approximately 50 in the Townline Hill area alone.

Each red dot incidates a gang associate living in Abbotsford. There are about 70 in total, including approximately 50 in the Townline Hill area alone.

Just Posted

Robert Nelson, 35, died after being stabbed at a homeless camp in Abbotsford on April 7 of this year.
Mom pleads for information about son’s killing at Abbotsford homeless camp

Robert Nelson, 35, described as ‘man who stood for justice, honour, respect’

FVRD surveyed public opinion on cannabis production and processing in the electoral areas. Odour and distance from residential areas were the top concerns. (Black Press file)
Cannabis production and processing rules being drafted by Fraser Valley Regional District

Data from public opinion survey will be used to guide cannabis-related land use

Police arrest the suspect in an attempted armed bank robbery on June 2 at the Scotiabank at Gladwin Road and South Fraser Way in Abbotsford. (Photo by Garry Amyot)
Abbotsford bank robbery suspect who was stopped by customers faces more charges

Neil Simpson now faces total of eight charges, up from the initial two

Vancouver Canucks captain Bo Horvat greets fans outside of the Abbotsford Centre prior to the Canucks exhibition game against the Ottawa Senators in 2019. (John Morrow/Abbotsford News)
More jobs posted for Abbotsford AHL team

Five new opportunities accepting applicants, Comets forward Lukas Jasek signs in Finland

Singer Ben Cottrill performs during the 2019 Arty Awards at The Reach Gallery Museum, the last time the event was held in person. Cottrill received the award in the performing arts category. (John Morrow/Abbotsford News)
Nominations now open for 2021 Arty Awards

Annual event hosted by Abbotsford Arts Council, with ceremony Sept. 25

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. watching U.K.’s COVID struggles but don’t think province will see similar pitfalls

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

RCMP Const. Shelby Patton is shown in this undated handout photo. RCMP say that Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over on Saturday morning in Wolseley, east of Regina. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP
Pair charged in Saskatchewan Mountie’s death make first court appearance

Const. Shelby Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over Saturday morning

David and Collet Stephan leave for a break during an appeal hearing in Calgary on Thursday, March 9, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Appeal Court rejects stay for Alberta couple facing third trial in son’s death

Pair accused in their earlier trials of not seeking medical attention for their son sooner

Highway notices like this come down effective June 14. Public health restrictions on non-essential travel and commercial operation have hit local businesses in every corner of B.C. (B.C. government)
Province-wide travel back on in B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan

Gathering changes include up to 50 people for outdoor events

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read