Police install security cameras in Abbotsford neighbourhood

Police have placed the cameras in an area where a conflict has been ongoing between two groups of young men

A sign in a west Abbotsford neighbourhood indicates that a security camera has been installed.

A sign in a west Abbotsford neighbourhood indicates that a security camera has been installed.

Abbotsford Police have installed two security cameras in west Abbotsford where an ongoing conflict between two groups of youths has been based.

Const. Ian MacDonald said the cameras were put up on Thursday because, although the conflict had subsided in July, tensions began to rise again in early August.

The cameras are located on two different streets which MacDonald said have been identified as the “hot spots” for much of the activity, and more could be installed depending on how the situation progresses.

He said neighbours on the two streets are supportive of the measure.

“Nobody wants to see anybody get needlessly hurt over a stupid and meaningless dispute.”

Police reported on July 7 that there had been more than 25 incidents since May 11 involving a conflict between two groups of South Asian men – ages 15 to 25 – and this had resulted in thousands of dollars in property damage.

At the time, MacDonald said damage had been done to homes and vehicles, and there was concern the dispute could escalate into serious physical injury.

He said the matter, which isn’t related to gangs or drugs, had become a “significant public safety issue.”

MacDonald said the matter, which police are referring to as “the Townline Hill conflict,” settled down in July and the men “seemed to be doing their own thing,” but in recent days they had begun gathering in groups again.

Officers were hearing “more and more antagonistic remarks” from the opposing sides, and they stepped up their enforcement, preventing several potential incidents.

“We have done a ton of suppression and interdiction. We have stopped a lot of cars and have had a lot of face-to-face conversations with these young men,” MacDonald said.

Additionally, leaders in the South Asian community have met with family members and the young men as an appeal to stop the conflict, he said.

MacDonald said the security cameras were installed as additional deterrents, and this is just one of the steps being taken to ensure the conflict doesn’t worsen.

“Enforcement and partnership with the community will continue as our primary means to diffuse this conflict,” he said.

In October 2008, cameras went up along Strathcona Court, where the Bacon family lived at the time.

Brothers Jarrod, Jamie and Jonathan – members of the Red Scorpions gang – were the targets of a murder plot at the time. Police said they installed the cameras to protect the neighbourhood and prevent violence.

Jonathan was killed in a drive-by shooting in Kelowna in August 2011, and Jarrod is currently serving a 14-year sentence for drug conspiracy. Jamie is in prison awaiting trial in the Surrey Six slayings and for an alleged plot to kill a fellow Red Scorpions gang member.

Their parents no longer reside in Abbotsford.

Another set of cameras was installed in October 2012 in the 2500 block of Bradner Road in a neighbourhood that had been the site of two drive-by shootings over 20 months.

The first shooting occurred in January 2011, when eight to 12 shots were fired as a 25-year-old woman driving a pickup pulled into a driveway.

At the time, police said that two male residents of the home – who were ages 21 and 27 – were well-known to police.

The second shooting was in September 2012, when a 24-year-old man suffered a gunshot wound to his arm. The victim had been in a Ford SUV along Bradner Road with an unknown number of people when the vehicle was shot at several times.

“Information to obtain a search warrant” papers that had been filed at the Abbotsford provincial courthouse later indicated that four people had been arrested and questioned for the assault, although none was charged.

Among them was Jujhar Khun-Khun, one of three men currently awaiting trial for the murder of Jonathan Bacon.