Laval, three consecutive shootings targeting young people, including a 15-year-old.

In a restaurant in Vimont, a man is shot without any consideration of the customers, including several children. Montreal, three shootings in a few hours at different locations, Wednesday, June 8. Targeted homicides, drive-by shootings, attacks and counter-attacks, criminal groups are brazen and careless. We were used to the impulsiveness of gang members, but to much more finesse on the part of organized crime.

However, the latest events involving certain individuals linked to criminal organizations are puzzling. Is there a change in the procedure for settling accounts? Are new players less likely to adhere to the “avoid collateral casualty” rule?

Either way, arrogance dominates in the criminal ecosystem.

Zero tolerance

Faced with this lack of consideration, the police response can only be inflexible. When violence spills into the streets like this, repression takes center stage. In this sense, police action aims to target criminal groups and arms traffickers. Part of this work involves preventative interventions and interceptions. In other words, to act before the shooting takes place and to remove the weapons from the street. Here is the challenge.

However, according to some police officers, this type of intervention is less and less favored, particularly in certain neighborhoods of Montreal and with certain groups of the population.

However, is preventive intervention so effective? In addition to several criminological studies that demonstrate its importance in terms of urban security, what about the terrain?

Montreal versus Quebec

The comparison between Quebec and Montreal is telling in itself. Whether it’s attempted murder, homicide or gunshots, Montreal beats Quebec. Are there fewer gangsters in Quebec or conflicts between criminal groups? Of course not. It’s true that all traffickers pay their tithes to the Hells Angels, but struggles over drug trafficking and selling are still an issue.

How then can we explain this difference? There is no single, simple answer to this question, but an important element emerges from the field: knowledge of criminalized individuals and the dynamics between the different criminal groups, as well as preventive intervention. In Quebec, the police know the traffickers involved in conflicts who, moreover, carry weapons. They are watched and frequently encountered by the police who warn them or arrest them before the shooting. This is called preventive intervention.

In Montreal, the police know the criminals and criminal groups in their area. Squads like Éclipse or Équinoxe (Laval) even know where these guys have their breakfast. However, it would seem that many patrollers in Montreal think twice before intervening preventively. Why ? The fear of accusations of racial profiling.

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