VPD forms team to tackle street disorder after survey finds most Vancouver residents are concerned about crime
A decal on a Vancouver police cruiser is seen in this undated photo.
VANCOUVER -- The Vancouver Police Department is promising to increase presence on Vancouver streets after a survey found most residents are concerned about crime in their neighborhood.
The survey, conducted by independent firm Leger, gathered information from 755 people who live in, work in or visit the city of Vancouver.
Seventy-eight per cent of respondents say they are concerned about crime in the city, that number was even higher for people who live in the downtown core at 84 per cent. Sixty-one per cent say crime over the past year is worse.
Deputy Chief Howard Chow told members of the media on Monday that while the results are not a surprise, “they are a concern.”
As a result, VPD has established a new neighborhood response team. A news release says that officers and community safety personnel were moved from other duties and into the new team last week, starting on Nov. 2.
Deputy Chief Chow said this team will be solely focused on responding quickly to calls that are generally considered lower priority.
“Like the person that’s using drugs in the park, like the person that may be sleeping in your doorway and you can’t get in and out of your building, like the person who may be scaring or chasing away your customers in front of your businesses,” he said.
The Strathcona neighborhood remains an area of concern for VPD with the homeless encampment in Strathcona Park. Chow says since it was set up, there’s been an increase in high priority calls like weapons calls and assaults.
“We did move some bodies in there when the encampment first started and the issue was we were so busy with higher level calls that we couldn’t get to the lower priority calls,” Chow said.
He’s promising a bigger presence of police cars on the streets and community safety officers.