Police say they have stepped up patrols in Strathcona after receiving feedback about “deteriorating levels of public safety” in the East Vancouver neighbourhood.
An additional five police officers and community safety personnel have been deployed to the neighbourhood from Friday to Monday, Vancouver police said.
Police will also have a crime analyst dedicated to monitoring and evaluating incidents in the area on a daily basis.
Vancouver police say the increased police presence stems from public feedback, but note there have been fewer calls to police from the neighbourhood. Last month, police received 1,818 calls for service in Strathcona, down from 2,345 calls during the same time period last year.
Residents have expressed concern over the growing homeless encampment at Strathcona Park.
Coun. Pete Fry, himself a Strathcona resident, relayed “a number of scary incidents involving children” that he has heard from neighbours.
“A man threatened to gouge a kid’s eyes out for looking at him,” Fry said.
“Another child was in the water park and a gentleman was in some stage of psychosis and he walked over, picked the child up and lifted him over his head, shook him and then put him down and proceeded to get into a fight with a jet of water.
“And then another man threatened a newborn. (He) threatened to rape and kill it with a stick.”
In a recent incident caught on video, a man threatened to stab Fry after the man became aggressive with neighbour Kimberly Allen.
“It’s challenging to live here right now, and I’m sure more challenging to have kids,” Allen told Global News last week. “It doesn’t feel safe in Strathcona anymore.”
— With files from Amy Judd and Simon Little