A morning walk in her neighbourhood with her child turned into a scary situation for a Yaletown resident this week.
The woman, who asked to remain anonymous, told Daily Hive she was pushing her one-and-a-half year-old child in a stroller along a street in the neighbourhood around 11:30 am on Tuesday, when she observed a man “openly injecting into his arm in the middle of the street.”
The man, she said, “was very frustrated and talking to himself,” and he soon noticed her as she stopped on the street corner waiting for the crosswalk light to change.
“When he saw me walking by he called me a ‘stupid f*king c*nt,'” she said. “I stood on the corner nearby, waiting for the light to turn so that I could cross the street, and he became very angry and came running full speed towards me with a needle full of blood.”
She added that the man was “holding the needle up in the air,” pointing it towards her, and telling her he was going to kill her.
He then attempted to chase the woman across the crosswalk before a bystander on a bike with a toddler as well “put her bike into traffic on the opposite side of the street and said, ‘Go now,'” the woman recalled. “She blocked the traffic for me so that I could run safely across the street with my stroller and hide behind a work truck, where I called 911.”
At that point, the man “continued to walk on the other side of the street until he found a corner close by to continue shooting up drugs,” she said.
The woman then stayed hidden with her baby until he was gone.
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The woman said police followed up with her on Wednesday morning.
“An officer called me this morning to take another report, and I sent him the video footage I had on my phone that very clearly identifies the man,” she said.
VPD Const. Tania Visintin confirmed with Daily Hive on Wednesday that officers are indeed aware of the incident and are investigating.
“The man fled the area, and an area search for the suspect was unsuccessful,” she said. “Officers spoke with the victim today and are in the midst of investigating this disturbing incident.”
In the meantime, the woman said that after living in Yaletown for 10 years, she is “very sad to see the recent changes in my neighbourhood. We are now forced to accept that we live in an unsafe, violent, and abusive community where we could be attacked at any time.”
She “bought a home believing that we would raise our family here, and with the current situation and escalation of violence and threats to our safety, we have no choice but to leave.”
At the end of the day, the woman said she’s not asking for much: “Just that those who use drugs do so safely in a controlled environment, such as inside a safe injection site. We ask that they do not openly inject on a public sidewalk in front of our children and then leave their used needles scattered for our kids to pick up off the playground sidewalk.”
She also implored those in government leadership positions to ask themselves “how they would feel if this were happening outside their front door, to them, their parents, or children. I would also like to ask what those in leadership suggest we do when we are violently attacked in broad daylight.”
The woman said that as Vancouver residents, “we have for many years accepted the reality of open drug use and a high concentration of homeless.”
However, she said, it’s not until now, “when we have been yelled at, pepper-sprayed, spat on, chased with weapons, and violently harassed for months [that] we asked for support from political leaders.”
And in the wake of this incident in a neighbourhood she has called home for a decade, the woman said she has a message for those in municipal and provincial positions of power: “Please hear us and please help us.”