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Where are stranger assaults happening in Vancouver? Here's what one sergeant had to say

Multiple shocking incidents of violence have been reported by Vancouver police in recent weeks, but one sergeant says it's offenders who need to change their behaviour, not the public.

Sgt. Steve Addison said on CTV Morning Live Tuesday he knows the latest incidents, and especially the videos shared of them, may cause some fear and anxiety.

"Although we've made a couple high-profile arrests, there's still a lot of work for us all to do," Addison said.

Specifically, Addison is referring to an incident earlier this month when a 25-year-old tourist was stabbed several times in the back while waiting in a Tim Hortons. A man was arrested in connection to the alarming attack a week ago.

Weeks before that, on New Year's Eve, a 22-year-old woman was thrown against the wall of the Hotel Georgia. Police said a suspect in that attack has also been arrested.

According to Vancouver Police Department statistics, there were four stranger assaults in the city per day last year, on average.

Addison said police share details of these incidents not only to gather more information, but to help the public be informed about what's happening in the city.

"If somebody chooses to change their behaviour, and do something differently for their own public safety, that's fine. But we're not here to tell people they need to change their behaviour," Addison said.

"You shouldn't have to feel unsafe in your own community, you shouldn't have to feel scared, you shouldn't have to look over your shoulder."

Addison also explained that most of the unprovoked, stranger assaults are happening "in the north end of the city," saying that includes the downtown core, West End, Granville Street and Downtown Eastside. He also said some people in those neighbourhoods are living with complex social needs.

"We understand that when you're living with homelessness, (when) you're living with untreated mental illness, you're more likely to become the victim of crime and more likely to become the victim of violent crimes," he said.

Even so, Addison said other areas of the city aren't immune to violent incidents.

"If one person says they feel unsafe, it means there's still work we need to do," he said.

Watch the full interview with Sgt. Steve Addison in the video player above.  

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