The Vancouver Police Department’s (VPD) new neighbourhood response team (NRT) has been busy since its inception, responding to hundreds of calls within its first two weeks of service.
The response team was created earlier this month to act on public concerns regarding disturbances and suspicious circumstances, specifically along Granville, Strathcona, Chinatown, and Yaletown.
On Friday morning, police shared results from the team’s first 11 days in action. Since the initiative began, officers have received 300 calls for service. A total of 34 weapons were also ceased.
“The primary responsibility of the neighbourhood response team is to respond to the increasing calls for service regarding the street disorder, make proactive patrols in areas with growing street disorder problems, and to engage with residents in the community,” says Constable Tania Visintin, VPD.
One of these instances includes police responding to an assault and attempted robbery of a woman near Dunsmuir Viaduct and Citadel Parade. Police also responded to a man with an outstanding arrest warrant who was caught trespassing at a fast-food restaurant. When he was searched by police, he was found carrying knives, homemade shanks, a slingshot, and other improvised weapons.
“This new initiative is an immediate measure, but we will also be looking at longer-term solutions,” Visintin adds, “to ensure we’re doing our part to help ensure people who live in, work in and visit this city feel safe.”
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Vancouverites showing concern over heightened crime
Earlier this month, the VPD also released results of a survey regarding the perception of public safety in the city.
The survey found that 78% of respondents are concerned about crime in Vancouver, with that number increasing to 84% for those living in the downtown core.
The majority of respondents (61%) agreed that crime has gotten worse in Vancouver over the past year, and one-third say they have changed their daily routines as a result.