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Delta mayor calls for airborne help to crack down on gang violence

Last Updated May 25, 2021 at 12:11 pm PDT

(iStock Photo)

Delta's Mayor says 'Air 1' should be available seven days a week, from noon until 3 a.m.

George Harvie has written a letter to the Minister of Public Safety detailing his ideas to crack down on gang violence

He also wants harsher penalties for 'dial-a-dopers' — as well as rental car companies

DELTA (NEWS 1130) – Delta’s mayor is calling on the province for more resources to address gang violence in his community.

One suggestion Mayor George Harvie has is to fly the RCMP’s helicopter, Air 1, over the city more often, and for it to be “readily and increasingly available for dispatch to assist in active crime scenes and investigations.”

“If Air 1 is readily and increasingly available, police benefit in several ways,” Harvie says, noting coverage would be needed from noon until 3 a.m., ideally, all week.

He says having the aircraft can help first responders get to crime scenes faster, including those, “where suspect vehicles are dumped and set on fire to destroy evidence,” as well as pursue suspects who pose a risk to the public.

“It’s a moment’s notice when we have these incidents, and having that already up in the air during those hours where these usually happen, it’ll be a great assistance to the Lower Mainland,” he told NEWS 1130 Tuesday.

“Why aren’t they being put in jail?” added Harvie of criminals, noting more support is also needed on the legal side.

“We need stronger support from the courts, and crown prosecutors allowing us to gather enough evidence that we can actually stop these people, because these are persistently active in our community right now … This is one area I would really like to see a stronger enforcement, stronger abilities for police to take them out of business.”

George Harvie has written a letter to Minister of Public Safety Mike Farnworth, highlighting his ideas.

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He also wants harsher penalties for ‘dial-a-dopers’ — as well as rental car companies.

“What we’ve asked the province to do is to look at more severe penalties so that we can actually disrupt the dial-a-dope by use of procedural offences,” Harvie explains.

“And right now, most of these operations are being run by individuals in rental vehicles. So they actually are setting up their dope operations in a car, setting up their businesses and selling dope in motor vehicles, which are now predominantly rented. So there’s no impact because the vehicle’s seized, of course under forfeiture laws, but it’s returned to the rental agency very quickly. And the operator, the dial-a-doper who’s running the business, escapes with very little change in his business operations.”

Harvie says other mayors in Metro Vancouver support these ideas, so he wants another meeting with the province as soon as possible.