Crime Bill Could Help ID Gangsters


EDMONTON–Members of gangs or other criminals may be putting a target on their own backs.

With the province’s proposed bill to outlaw the ownership of so-called body armour — such as bulletproof vests — people outside of law enforcement may be identifying themselves as a member of organized crime outfits by wearing the protective gear, says a criminologist.

“Most of those gangbangers are running around with those on,” said Bill Pitt, a criminologist at Grant MacEwan University. “It is a great way to identify them.”

Pitt said people who wear these vests are generally not petty criminals — but individuals likely carrying firearms.

“Most people don’t wear bulletproof vests to work unless you are a cop,” security guard or work in an emergency response profession, he said.

The proposed legislation, however, would not ban the sale of body armour, nor would individuals be required to produce a permit when purchasing bulletproof clothing. “It is not a perfect bill,” said Pitt.

Along with the banning of these projectile-proof vests, the government is also taking aim at improving protection for witnesses and improving compensation for municipalities hammered by the cost of crime.

“They are small steps but they are important steps,” said Pitt.

These bills were introduced in the legislature on Tuesday.