Man arrested for allegedly smashing car window while 2 Asian women sat inside
A decal on a Vancouver police cruiser is seen in this undated photo.
VANCOUVER -- Vancouver police have arrested a suspect for mischief after they say he smashed the window of a parked vehicle in Chinatown while two Asian women were sitting inside.
VPD describe what happened as a "racist incident."
Police say the women were confronted by the suspect after they parked their car near East Pender and Columbia streets on Saturday afternoon. The man yelled obscenities at them while they were in the car, and then smashed the window with a chisel he was carrying in his backpack, according to investigators.
"This was a random, unprovoked incident and would have been very terrifying for the victims," Sgt. Aaron Roed said in a news release. "It was particularly concerning for responding officers, considering the anti-Asian crime and incidents we have seen in Vancouver recently."
Police were able to locate and arrest the suspect with the help of a witness.
The suspect was taken to jail and released on an undertaking to appear, which requires him to report to court at a future date. Roed confirmed police have had "dealings" with the suspect in the past.
"Patrol officers are still gathering information and we will be presenting a package to Crown for their approval," Roed said.
The VPD's major crimes section, as well as officers from the diversity and hate crime unit, are looking into the file and continue to investigate what happened.
"We're very concerned for the two females who were involved in this and (it) must have been a very serious and scary incident for them to go through," said Roed.
He urged anyone who has information or has been a victim of a hate crime to come forward to police.
"We do still feel this is an underreported crime," he said. "We are asking anybody, if you have information regarding any suspicious activity, any crimes involving hate, to contact Vancouver police so we can look into these issues."
Roed said VPD takes all reported hate crimes seriously and urged victims to come forward so they are not dealing with what happened alone.
"You might be a victim and thinking that you can deal with this by yourself and just shrug it off as a situation that happens, and you just have to deal with it," said Roed. "Vancouver police take these matters very seriously and you don't have to deal with it by yourself."
Vancouver police have initiated several measures to combat the uptick in anti-Asian hate crimes, including increasing outreach with the Chinese community, additional foot patrols in Chinatown, and the installation of a trailer with cameras in the area.
Police will be canvassing the neighbourhood for any surveillance video of the incident, Roed said, but encouraged anyone who believes they have CCTV or dash-cam footage of what happened to contact VPD
Vancouver police announced last Friday that 29 anti-Asian hate crimes have been investigated in the city since the beginning of the year, compared to just four during the same time period last year. Suspects have been identified in six of those investigations, but no formal charges have been laid yet in any of the incidents. Ten of the investigations have been concluded because a suspect couldn't be linked to the incident.