With growing concern about vehicle break-ins, Vancouver’s Downtown Ambassadors are shifting gear to keep an eye on parkades.
The Downtown Ambassador program is operated by the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association (DTVBIA), and is made up of 12 full-time staff who patrol the downtown core on foot from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.
The ambassadors have traditionally functioned as a friendly and helpful face for tourists.
However, the ambassadors — which are supplied through a contract with Securiguard — also function as “eyes and ears on the street” for the downtown business community.
DTVBIA CEO Charles Gauthier says that’s a role they’ll be stepping up, as business owners cite growing security concerns.
“So now it’s definitely what the ambassadors are doing on a more regular basis.”
Earlier this year Vancouver police issued a warning about vehicle break-ins, citing a nearly 40 per cent jump in thefts in the first quarter of the year.
Back in December, police arrested more than 25 suspects on 80 charges during an anti-theft-from-auto blitz.
“People have let their guard down. Not just visitors but residents alike just think that everything is good,” Gauthier said.
“And they go into a parkade or they are parking on a street and unfortunately they leave something out in the open.”
Despite the business concerns about property crime, Gauthier said the DTVBIA’s survey shows that people continue to rate downtown Vancouver as a safe place.