Police deploy trailer camera to deter property crime downtown
Published Monday, March 30, 2020 5:37PM PDT Last Updated Tuesday, March 31, 2020 11:18AM PDT
VANCOUVER -- The Vancouver Police Department has deployed its "public safety trailer" in the downtown core to help deter property crime.
The trailer comes equipped with several elevated cameras and is currently parked at Robson and Granville streets.
"With, you know, less people on the streets, you definitely do need to be more careful," Victor Perez told CTV News while on his way to work. "Just because there’s less eyes. Who knows what could happen."
A number of businesses in the downtown area have boarded up their windows to deter break-ins, including Coach, Dior, Aritzia, and Lululemon. Many stores have removed their merchandise altogether, including Arcteryx, which said in a statement that its product had been stored "as a security measure."
A security guard is now stationed outside of the Lululemon store at Robson and Burrard streets 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Last week, Vancouver police said they had increased their visibility and presence in some of the hardest-hit areas and deployed more patrol and community safety officers.
"Property crime is an issue in Vancouver year-round and we continuously implement new measures to help reduce property crime and target repeat offenders," said Chief Adam Palmer in a news release. "However, it appears thieves are attempting to take advantage of commercial spaces that are closed due to social distancing measures. We are targeting these offenders aggressively on several levels."
From March 1 to 15, VPD received reports of about 20 commercial break-ins throughout downtown Vancouver. But from March 16 to 24, there were 35 break-ins reported in just seven days, according to police.
"We are continuing to partner with Vancouver-based business improvement associations to provide safety information and support," said Palmer. "Many BIAs and businesses have been very proactive and have implemented additional safety measures on their own."
With so many businesses closed and so few people outside, Perez described the city as "eerie" and mused this could last a long time.
"Who knows if it’s ever going to be like what it was before," he said.
Transit police are also stepping up patrols across Metro Vancouver. Officials told CTV News there will be a more visible presence because as people heed the advice of health officials, bus stops and SkyTrain stations are much quieter.
With files from CTV News Vancouver's St. John Alexander