The Kelowna RCMP have a message for gang members wishing to vacation in the sunny Okanagan this year - stay home.
While families make plans to spend part or all of their summer vacation time in the Okanagan, RCMP Cst. Kris Clark says the lure of sunshine and beaches also attracts gang members and their associates.
"Over the past several years, police have noticed a considerable increase in gang presence throughout the Central Okanagan during summer months," says Clark.
"With them comes illicit drugs and the ever-present potential for a range of gang-related violence."
Clark points to the brazen afternoon shooting of Red Scorpion member Jonathan Bacon in front of the Delta Grand Hotel Aug 14, 2011.
A full-patch Hells Angels member and other organized crime groups were also involved in that shooting.
"While that level of gang violence is fortunately rare, the drugs they bring and the fear they incite damage the community just as much as any gang murder could."
Clark says the local RCMP detachment will again work closely with the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit (CFSEU-BC) as well as agencies from Alberta to combat the gang presence this summer.
He adds police have been working with staff and management of bars, restaurants and hotels in Kelowna to promote public safety resulting in a number of removals.
"By using our expertise as well as that of police from other jurisdictions we will be able to quickly and efficiently identify gang members and their associates," says Supt Nick Romanchuk.
"We want them to know that they are not anonymous here, they are not wanted here and if they commit an offence of any kind, there will be zero tolerance."