Abbotsford police publicly shame parents of two rival youth groups for their ‘wilful blindness’

MIKE HAGER
POSTMEDIA NEWS 

ABBOTSFORD — Two months ago, a conflict began to fester between two rival groups of about 40 young Abbotsford men in the Townline Hill neighbourhood. It started with small pranks such as egging houses, but soon escalated to smashing front windows and attacking family vehicles, which has cost thousands of dollars in damage.

An Abbotsford Police map shows the locations of assaults, vandalism and other incidents in the ongoing dispute between two groups of teens and young adults in Abbotsford.

Abbotsford police are now taking the unusual step of publicly shaming the parents of the two groups of youngsters for their “wilful blindness”. They hope the parents can rein in their children before someone is seriously injured.

Since May 11, police have logged over 25 late-night incidents involving the two groups, each made up of about 20 young men between the ages of 15 and 25, according to Abbotsford police spokesman Const. Ian MacDonald. At least 18 of the 25 incidents have involved the damage of the boys’ family members’ cars or homes, but there have also been several assaults, with police confiscating pepper spray, bats, clubs and “the odd knife that ‘doesn’t belong to anybody’,” MacDonald said.

“A lot of these young men live at home, and a lot of them drive around in vehicles that aren’t registered to them,” said MacDonald.

“Maybe one of the questions you want to ask before you lend out your Escalade at two o’clock in the morning to your teenage son is: ‘Are you involved in this conflict and where are you going in this Escalade?’” MacDonald said. “Because if we took the wheels away from these people we wouldn’t have half the conflicts that we’re having.”

Last week, a woman awoke to what she thought was a car crash outside her home, MacDonald said. She rushed outside to find her Maserati smashed with what must have been a sledgehammer, MacDonald said.

“It turns out her daughter drives the Maserati on a regular basis, and she happens to be dating a guy we do believe is involved in the conflict.”

In another incident, police responded to a schoolyard after a report of a brawl to find “25 Good Samaritans who are there to break up a fight.”

Witnesses to any of the incidents have been hard to find, but investigators know the identities of most of the young men involved, and police are asking anyone with information to call 604-859-5225, text them at 222973 (abbypd), or leave an anonymous tip through CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

“We’re trying to challenge the people involved that we know a lot more than the little they’re offering us,” MacDonald said. “We are trying to light a fire under the friends, family and parents.”

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