Starting last Friday, and continuing over the ride season, police and public safety partners are taking to social media to remind Canadians that outlaw motorcycle gangs remain a criminal threat to our communities.
While the vast majority of motorcycle riders are law-abiding citizens, extensive criminal networks within the outlaw biker community continue to profit from illicit activities like drug trafficking, fraud, counterfeiting, money laundering, contraband smuggling, extortion, violence and illegal gaming.
Outlaw motorcycle clubs often take part in legitimate charitable events and other public relations efforts to portray themselves as good-natured free spirits. Popular television shows in recent years have unfortunately glamorized the gangster lifestyle and likely helped organized crime groups attract recruits and supporters.
Under the auspices of CIROC (the Canadian Integrated Response to Organized Crime), participating agencies will feature anti-gang messages across a variety of social media platforms and point to sources of more information online.
CIROC coordinates a national effort to disrupt organized crime through information sharing between law enforcement agencies. Its partners include:
- Municipal and provincial police agencies
- Royal Canadian Mounted Police
- Criminal Intelligence Service Canada
- Canadian Border Services Agency
- Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada
- Other federal government departments major partners in this campaign spoke about the need for such a co-ordinated approach to combatting the influence of these criminal groups.
Criminal Intelligence Service Canada Chief, Director General, Chief Superintendent, Rob Gilchrist, underlined the impact of outlaw motorcycle gangs: “Outlaw motorcycle gangs have extensive illicit distribution networks that consist of their chapters and supports clubs. It is believed these networks connect to over half of all organized crime groups in Canada.”
And Ontario Provincial Police Deputy Commissioner and CIROC Co-Chair, Rick Barnum, agreed that: “Outlaw motorcycle gangs pose a major crime threat across our country. Canadian law enforcement stands united in investigating, charging and convicting these criminals who threaten public safety.”
“One of the most serious threats that Canada faces, is transnational organized crime. These groups commit old crimes using new technologies and often have links overseas. We need domestic and international partners to work together to combat this threat”, said RCMP Federal Policing Deputy Commissioner and CIROC Co-Chair, Gilles Michaud.