On six separate occasions in four months, one East Vancouver family says someone slashed 11 tires between two of their vehicles.
Shannon and her family have lived near Commercial Drive for over a decade. She says she deeply loves the community, but over the past few months, reoccurring vandalism on her vehicles has caused her to feel overwhelmed, scared, angry and financially drained.
The first time Shannon and her husband’s vehicles were vandalized was in early October. A tire on each of their vehicles was slashed, she says.
Initially, the couple didn’t have too much concern about the incident. However, after walking around the neighbourhood and speaking to neighbours, they noticed no other vehicles were impacted.
The second time their tires were punctured while parked in their open driveway, Shannon says, “then we felt … this is really not comfortable.”
In response to these incidents, cameras, lights and a sign were installed at their home as deterrents. Despite their best efforts, in October alone, Shannon says their vehicles were targeted four times and nine tires between their two cars were punctured.
“The fourth time … I hadn’t even replaced my tire,” she tells Daily Hive. “We actually caught him on video going to the spare, seeing that it was the spare, so he went back around to another tire and slashed [another tire].”
After four incidents, Shannon and her husband began to park their cars overnight a few blocks away because they agreed, “this is not stopping.”
After seven weeks of moving the car nightly, one evening in mid-December, Shannon fell asleep before she got a chance to repark her vehicle.
“The one night I parked there, he slashed my tires,” she says. “That’s when we’re like, ‘Okay, this feels really gross.’ He’s totally watching our house.”
“He’s hunting out our vehicles”
Shannon says she and her husband reported all incidents to the police when they occurred.
By the fifth incident, “we finally got some attention from the VPD,” she says.
According to Shannon, police told her they could increase patrols in the area but mentioned their attention at times needed to be focused on “bigger, dangerous, more emergent things.”
While she agrees with VPD that there are more pressing calls than hers, she adds that her family is frightened of how this seemingly targeted incident may escalate.
“We just need to be bumped up on the priority scale.”
Shannon suggests that vandalism should be considered criminal harassment and/or stalking instead of only property crime.
“We need this to stop, and we need [these incidents] to be seen for what it is, which in our minds is — this isn’t random incidents of vandalism.
“This is really targeted. It’s relentless. It’s escalating,” she explains. “Who on earth knows what’s next?”
VPD confirmed with Daily Hive it is investigating the incidents and admits, “It’s quite concerning because of the number of times this family appears to have been targeted.”
“We don’t yet know who is responsible or what their motive is. Though it certainly does seem that one family is being targeted, we’d also like to hear from anyone else in the area who has had their tires slashed,” an email statement from Sergeant Steve Addison reads.
“Crimes like these are unsettling, and they do cause community concerns. We’ll continue investigating with hopes of identifying the person or people responsible.”
Late last week, the most recent vandalism occurred.
A tire was slashed again despite Shannon’s husband parking two to three blocks from home.
“[What’s] freaky about that too, he was out late that night, and he didn’t even get to that spot until 1:30 in the morning and then walked home from that spot,” she says.
“He knows we’re parking elsewhere. And he’s like, hunting out our vehicles at night in the neighbourhood. So it just really feels like an escalation,” Shannon continues.
“We are financially struggling”
These tire slashings have cost the family over $3,000 for the vehicle and another $600 for cameras and floodlights.
“It’s definitely permeated our lives in every way because … work is affected, we can’t get the kids to school on time, and we’ve used up all of our BCAA tows to get the car out of the shop, and it totally messes up the whole day.”
Shannon says she filled claims with ICBC and reached out to the company twice for coverage questions and an agent said ICBC could not cover the damages.
In an email response to Daily Hive, ICBC said “slashed tires are considered vandalism and claims for damage are covered under ICBC’s optional comprehensive coverage.”
“For each incident of vandalism, a $300 deductible applies (unless the customer has chosen a higher deductible),” the company explained. “If the cost to replace a damaged tire and any other repairs associated with the claim is less than the $300 deductible, a customer may decide to pay the repair costs themselves instead of filing a claim.”
Shannon claims ICBC told her to stop reporting the damages or else the vehicles would be flagged as “high risk,” which would increase her and her husband’s insurance rates.
However, in response ICBC said, “In this case, the customer may have misunderstood our claims staff when they discussed whether to formally submit a comprehensive insurance claim for damaged tires.”
Regardless of whether someone files a claim, customers can report incidents of vandalism to ICBC, “and this doesn’t impact their insurance,” the insurance company said.
“If a customer formally submits a claim and then submits a number of similar claims in the future, their deductible cost may increase. This is common within the insurance industry.”
The timing of these vandalisms has also been deeply impactful on the family. Shannon and her husband run a small local business which she says has not been able to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic yet.
To help with the costs, Shannon created a GoFundMe page. As of Monday afternoon, it surpassed its goal of $3,000.
“We’re at this point where we have to budget tires into our monthly budget. And we don’t have enough for basic needs a lot of the time,” she said. “So just knowing there will be a little buffer [due to the GoFundMe] … we’re really thankful.
“And it doesn’t surprise me at all. This is very much the community that I know.”