A Vancouver woman is speaking out after waking up to find a stranger brandishing a knife in her downtown townhouse unit on Thursday.
Global News is not publishing the woman’s name out of concern for her safety.
It happened around 3 a.m., in the area of Nelson and Richards streets, when the woman was awakened by noises.
She saw a man outside, and when she went to her stairway, she saw another man inside the home holding a knife in one hand and some of her possessions in the other.
“It’s been a challenging day. You replay these things, a stranger in your house in the middle of the night with a knife that lunges at you is not something you want to experience,” she told Global News.
Vancouver police confirm they were called to the unit around 3:30 a.m., but were unable to track the suspect down with a dog unit.
“She didn’t confront the person, and he did immediately flee the area,” said Sgt. Aaron Roed.
“This definitely shows for public safety, that if anyone does have anything suspicious in their neighbourhood, call 911 immediately.”
Roed said both men are believed to be in their mid-20s.
The woman said she later learned that the type of mail slot on her unit is wide enough for someone to reach through with a tool and unlock the door, a flaw she’s warning other downtown residents about.
The door has since been improved with an additional security device.
However, after 10 years living downtown, she’s now considering leaving the area.
“With the changes that have happened downtown since the lockdown, there’s been progressively more and more of this happening,” she said of growing crime and street disorder in the area.
The case is the latest in a string of incidents ranging from increasing open drug use, threats of violence, spitting assaults, to the creation of home-made explosive devices that have led some downtown residents to say they no longer feel safe in the area.
In July, Vancouver police said they were boosting their presence in the Yaletown area, following a spike in complaints from residents.
“It’s just been a shift. There were people who have been homeless in the neighbourhood who we all just help, have relationships with, give food to, but now if you try and help it seems to be more aggressive than it was,” she said.
The robbery victim told Global News she bears no ill will against the area’s homeless population.
But she said the province’s solution, which has included purchasing hotels to act as temporary housing for large numbers of vulnerable people, has not worked.
“The first pandemic (of addiction) Vancouver has has to be addressed, and that’s what’s happening. We’re seeing the escalation of the drug problem, and people who got more compromised as a result of what happened during the lockdown.”
In the meantime, she’s warning others in the area to check their mail slots to ensure they are secure, and is advising her neighbours to look at installing security cameras as well.