At first glance, the photos look like high-fashion ads. But a double-take will show the latest Crime Stoppers advertisements are part of a campaign focused on girlfriends of B.C. gangsters.
Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers launched the new campaign Friday, called “I Stashed My Boyfriend’s Gun.”.
The images feature women dressed in “edgy” prison-like garb, such as a dress made out of paper towel, shoes made out of sponges and tape, and makeup done with mustard powder, cocoa and felt pens.
“Girlfriends soon find the excitement of gang life quickly wears off and leads to fears of violence or other repercussions if they refuse to hide guns of other evidence for their boyfriends,” said Linda Annis, Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers executive director, said. “They think there’s no escape.”
The ads are meant to be tongue-in-cheek to get attention, but they’re designed to lead to a serious discussion about the risks of being involved in the gang lifestyle.
Once you’re behind bars for hiding your boyfriend’s gun, the organization said, you won’t have much to choose from when deciding what to wear.
The campaign is set to run on 500 billboards and transit shelters, as well as in malls, restaurants and on social media. It also includes a new website with an anonymous tip form.
People who submit information through the tip line will never be identified, and are never required to testify.