There has been a noticeable decrease in street disorder and violent crime in the Downtown Eastside since Vancouver Police began a new safety initiative in the area on January 28. In the last two weeks, there have been two serious assaults and one robbery in the area, compared to an average of eight assaults and four robberies every two weeks in the six months leading up to the project.
In the months before the launch of this initiative, the VPD noted a considerable spike in street disorder and increased complaints from concerned community members and businesses. Residents, including the elderly and people with mobility issues, were frustrated with the level of violence and expressed concern about not being able to safely navigate the sidewalks.
“We are pleased with the positive change this initiative has brought to the Downtown Eastside so far. Violent crime is down and residents and merchants are able to use the sidewalks again,” says VPD Deputy Chief Constable Howard Chow. “We have received positive feedback from the community and our officers will continue to work with residents and businesses to make the area a safer place to live, work, and visit.”
The initiative has led to several seizures of weapons, drugs, and stolen property. It has become apparent that people from outside of the area have been taking advantage of residents by offering them cash to steal desirable goods. The VPD is working to identify those predatory fences and to deter their behaviours.
Officers will continue with their increased presence in the area, and have expanded their patrols into the neighbouring communities of Chinatown and Gastown. The VPD’s homeless outreach coordinator will continue to work with partnering agencies to connect those in need with the available resources.