Small cities are being warned that gangs and drugs could spill across their borders.
The threat gangs present to law enforcement and the general public was front and centre during the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention.
“Gang violence isn’t just in our big cities. Nobody is immune from it,” said Shirley Fowler, an Armstrong councillor.
One of the messages delegates was told was that some teens are drawn to gangs because of a breakdown in traditional family life.
“Young people believe a gang presents a family,” said Fowler, adding that there is a need to educate teens about the dangers inherent with gangs.
“It’s not a glamorous life.”
Fowler is also urging parents to take more notice of what their children are doing and to ask questions.
“Why does a young person with no visible source of income drive around in a fancy car?” she said.
Police report that there have been cases across the province where gang violence has spilled over into the streets and innocent residents have been killed.
“It really was an awakening session,” said Fowler of the UBCM presentation.
There were also discussions about drug overdoses and the growing presence of fentanyl.
“The margin of error with fentanyl is so small, people are overdosing unintentionally,” said Fowler.
“It’s a state of emergency for our province and young people.”