Not a single arrest as death toll rises A high-profile taskforce of Vancouver-area police has interviewed thousands of people but is yet to make a single arrest or identify any suspects in a wave of violence that has killed more than a dozen gang associates in recent months. In the past week alone, three men were shot and killed by unknown assailants. 'We're well aware of the problems and we're doing as much as we can,' said Vancouver police Constable Tim Fanning. 'We can't be out on every street corner. Not yet. This isn't New York.' But despite the rising body count, officers fighting the increasingly frustrating war against gangs claim they are winning. A noticeably increased officer presence on the streets, concentrating on a strategy of 'in your face' confrontations targeting gang members, had made a difference, officials claimed. The Violence Suppression Team involves 59 officers taken from the Vancouver municipal force and surrounding municipalities. It was formed amid mounting public outrage when six bodies were found inside an apartment building in suburban Surrey in November and the revelation that two of the men - neighbours Chris Mohan, 22, and Ed Schellenberg, 55, a fireplace technician - were innocent victims. The pair were inadvertently on the scene of a gangland hit. 'We've always thought that gangs only targeted other gangs,' said Mohan's mother Eileen. 'But now we know. They live across the hallway from us and they don't just kill each other; they kill anyone they don't want to become potential witnesses.' Ms Mohan said she and others had learned a lesson since her son's and Schellenberg's murders - that the gang violence in Metro Vancouver had gone beyond specific areas and targeted individuals. 'Gang violence is the biggest issue in our city,' said Steve Brown, brother-in-law of Schellenberg, who worked with him in the fireplace- repair business. 'We need the politicians to take notice with tougher laws, because the police have been doing everything they can and now these criminals are hiding in their holes.' Both Mr Brown and Ms Mohan said it was troubling that no one had been arrested in the murders of their family members. But Mr Brown said: 'We have no doubt that police are doing everything they can because they're just as angry and as frustrated by these criminals as we are.' Corporal Dale Carr with the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team said police were making progress in tracking the killer or killers involved in the murder of the six men in Surrey. Sixteen officers are assigned to the investigation. 'These investigations are quite lengthy and it can be over a year before we lay charges,' he said. The new anti-gang unit has redeployed officers from other investigative divisions. The tactic is to confront gang members in their homes, the gyms they use and the clubs and restaurants they frequent. Within a week after starting, more than 300 people were stopped and interviewed by police. Officers said they noticed an immediate sharp drop of known associates hanging out in Vancouver's entertainment districts. The unit has recovered a number of illegal and legally registered weapons from men associated with the 120 gangs operating in the province and battling for turf in the lucrative guns and drug trade through the rest of Canada, the US and Asia. In the past two months, officers have contacted 3,600 individuals, but have laid only 31 criminal charges - none relating to any of the killings. Inspector Dean Robinson, the head of the Violence Suppression Team, said that while it was having an impact - fewer shots fired throughout the city - funding for the high-staffing blitz could not be sustained.