Loaded semi-automatic rifle found one block from Strathcona Park, police say
Police say they recovered a loaded semi-automatic weapon just a block away from the tent city in Strathcona Park last week. (@DeputyChow/Twitter)
VANCOUVER -- Police say they recovered a loaded semi-automatic weapon just a block away from the tent city in Strathcona Park last week.
Vancouver Police Department Deputy Chief Howard Chow shared a photo of the gun on Twitter Tuesday evening, but shared few details about the discovery.
In an email, VPD spokesperson Const. Tania Visintin told CTV News Vancouver the firearm was found in a tent bag near the intersection of Prior Street and Heatley Avenue around 9:30 a.m. on Sept. 10.
A construction worker made the discovery, Visintin said, adding that police have conducted a search for video surveillance and secured the weapon at the VPD property office. Investigators will swab the gun for fingerprints, she added.
The discovery comes amid a surge in weapons-related calls in the Strathcona neighbourhood, according to crime statistics VPD released Thursday.
"For the first seven months of the year, calls for service about weapons went up by 50 per cent, break-ins went up by 68 per cent, and calls about threatening behavior increased by 14 per cent," VPD said of the neighbourhood in its news release.
Strathcona was the subject of a Vancouver City Council vote earlier this week. Councillors voted unanimously to explore emergency options to address a tent city that popped up in Strathcona Park after residents were forced to leave another encampment in the Downtown Eastside.
Last year, police linked a previous encampment at Oppenheimer Park to a rise in weapons calls.
Police have not said whether they believe the loaded gun found last week was related to the tent city in Strathcona Park.