In what they said is a response to citizen concerns about neighbourhood safety, the Vancouver Police said on Thursday they have increased the number of patrol officers and community safety personnel in the city’s Strathcona neighbourhood.
“The VPD is now deploying five additional police officers and community safety personnel on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays to the areas directly neighbouring Strathcona Park,” police said in a release. “These resources will be dedicated to that specific area and are in addition to the regular patrol teams already dedicated to the broader Strathcona neighbourhood.”
VPD Const. Taniz Visintin said that although emergency 911 calls to police and non-emergency calls to police “have not increased significantly over the last month in the area, the VPD has received feedback from the community about the deteriorating levels of public safety.”
In July of 2020, police received 1,818 calls for service in Strathcona. This is down from 2,345 calls in July 2019, police said. In June 2020, police received 1,572 calls for service in the same area. This is down from 1,908 calls in June 2019.
In the blocks directly surrounding Strathcona Park (East Pender Street to Malkin Avenue/Charles Street and Jackson Avenue to Vernon Drive), police received 175 calls for service in July 2020 and 203 in July 2019. In June 2020, police received 133 calls for service in the same area, down from 229 calls in June 2019. The most common call types over June and July this year have been for theft and weapons.
For Strathcona Park specifically, the calls for service have increased. In July 2020, police received 39 calls. This is up from 15 in July 2019. In June 2020, police received 33 calls for service. This is up from 15 in June 2020.
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“We suspect that suspicious activity or criminal activity in the area may be underreported at this time,” adds Visintin. “Although the numbers don’t show an increase in calls, we have heard directly from the community about the level of fear and concern.”
Visintin said the VPD will continue to monitor crime data in the area and respond to concerns from residents while staff and elected officials with the City of Vancouver and Province of BC work to address the encampment and homelessness in Vancouver.
“Everyone has the right to feel safe and comfortable at home and in their neighbourhood,” she added.
Police are encouraging residents to call 911 if there is a direct threat to their safety or if they see a crime in progress. For non-emergency situations, police encourage the public to call 604-717-3321. Non-emergency crime can also be reported online.