Mayors in Greater Victoria are keeping a close eye on the activities of a new Devil’s Army clubhouse, a reported affiliate with the Hells Angels, with the hopes of preventing the potential spread of gang-related activity.
Last weekend, the first biker club in Greater Victoria opened on Spencer Road in Langford. The clubhouse is believed to belong to the Devil’s Army, a group reportedly associated with the Hells Angels, whose main clubhouse is located in Campbell River.
Barb Desjardin, Esquimalt mayor and co-chair of the Victoria and Esquimalt Police Board, has already taken a pro-active role to prevent illegal activity from making its way to the township.
She has asked the police chief to provide the board with any information related to gang-related activity.
“What we want to understand is how does this work, what are the opportunities, what are the mechanisms we have in place that would prevent or dissuade gang activity from moving into our communities, what other options we have, what do other jurisdictions do,” said Desjardin.
“We’ll all be watching this. We want to make sure that we can do whatever we can do dissuade these factions from coming to our beautiful region.”
In June, the first-ever regional municipal police board meeting will take place between Victoria, Oak Bay and Saanich mayors and police boards. Desjardin said gang violence will likely be a topic of discussion.
The clubhouse, which opened on Saturday, is under the jurisdiction of the West Shore RCMP. They said there is no evidence to suggest that criminal activity is occurring at the location.
Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps prefers to take a wait-and-see approach.
“It’s not helpful to worry in advance of evidence. We have no evidence and I have no reason to believe that we have anything to worry about in Victoria,” said Helps. “I am watching the Langford situation very closely and will keep in touch with Mayor [Stew] Young.”
Saanich Mayor Richard Atwell agreed with Helps.
“I think we’re all worried about gang activity, but I don’t think we know enough,” he said.
VicPD spokesperson Bowen Osoko said the city has remained relatively clean of gang-related activity so far.
“For us, it’s always important that people here feel safe and with the opening of different clubhouses, people get concerned,” he said, adding that although the clubhouse is not in the department’s jurisdiction, there are teams in place to ensure gang-related activity does not spread.
“We participate in the combined special enforcement unit and all the other teams, we have a pretty strong integrated partnership with folks in the region, specifically to help avoid things from moving from one region to another.”