Gang Unit Charges Calgary Youths with Drug, Weapons Offences

Following an investigation by the Calgary Police Service Guns and Gangs Unit and the Gang Enforcement and Gang Suppression teams, three young Calgary residents have been charged with a series of drug and weapons offences.

Two of the three young men accused of these gang-related crimes are 19 years old, and the third was only twenty.

While details of the investigation and the charges have not been published, the fact that the three men involved in this case are so young is something everyone in Calgary ought to consider.

Far from being career criminals or long-time operators in a drug trafficking enterprise, the charges we know of and their youth suggests that the men being charged in this case are, like most people associated with Calgary's gangs, people who do not have the proper guidance or support to make better decisions about their future and their place in the larger community.

The Calgary Police must investigate crimes and make arrests where warranted, that is their job. That does not mean that these specific arrests are actually the best way to deter crime or to solve Calgary's gang problems, however. Better outreach programs, educational opportunities, and community activism might have prevented any alleged crimes from occurring in the first place, and could have steered these youths away from their gang affiliations.

Rather than celebrating these arrests as a triumph for Calgary's criminal justice system, we should be questioning how people so young are becoming involved in weapons-related crimes.