The Vancouver Police Department (VPD) will be increasing patrols in Yaletown after a “significant” amount of concerns from local residents.
Police announced on Friday that they would be implementing “new, additional public safety measures” to specific parts of Downtown Vancouver.
Constable Tania Visintin says that safety has been a growing concern for residents over the past few weeks.
“Over the past several weeks, the VPD has received a significant number of messages and emails from residents in Yaletown, and the surrounding area, voicing concern about feeling unsafe in the neighbourhood,” says Visintin.
Several safety measures are being implemented as a response. First, the VPD will deploy additional police officers on bikes in the area. The VPD says that using bikes allows for “more flexibility to patrol laneways and parking lots.”
Another measure is increasing the patrols of officers that are already in regular rotation. VPD also plans to work and communicate with the staff at nearby social housing shelters to ensure that staff and residents are connected to adequate public safety resources.
Visintin says that they want “to ensure all residents downtown feel safe” and adds that this “requires the proper support from public safety officials, local government, and the provincial government.”
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Last month, a group of Downtown Vancouver residents began petitioning against the relocation of Oppenheimer Park residents, citing that there’s been a “growing sense of fear” and that many residents “no longer feel safe.”
The fear and concerns came from the provincial government’s decision to move people experiencing homelessness from Oppenheimer Park into empty hotel rooms or community spaces.
“This relocation has exacerbated the issues stated above and has not solved these problems,” reads the online petition, which was started by a group called Safer Vancouver. “It only further spreads it throughout our city, subjecting more Vancouver residents to being victimized.”
“Oppenheimer Park Tent City was notorious for its open drug use, violent assaults, dangerous weapons, stabbings and shootings,” the petition reads.
“Our downtown communities have become more dangerous and it is becoming more difficult to keep our families safe. This has been intolerable on a temporary basis and inconceivable if it persists.”