Vancouver’s Teahouse restaurant is calling for more police patrols in Stanley Park, after suffering multiple recent break-ins and incidents of vandalism.
Teahouse general manager Jason Kelly says the restaurant has been targeted at least three times in November.
People have thrown rocks, a cinderblock and even a pumpkin through the business’ windows, and in one case a thief made off with a set of chef’s knives worth thousands of dollars.
In each case, the restaurant has been left with an expensive insurance deductible for repairs.
“I sleep at night with my phone beside my head waiting for those 2 a.m. phone calls from the security company that the alarms are going off,” Kelly told Global News.
Kelly said in previous years, the restaurant has had about one incident on average. He described three in the period of several weeks as “unheard of.”
Kelly believes the uptick in crime is related to reduced traffic in the park.
He attributed that reduction both to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has hit businesses everywhere, and the Vancouver Park Board’s moves to reduce vehicle traffic in the park, including a summer bike lane pilot project.
“I still get phone calls about parking, can we still park — people don’t even know,” he said.
“So people have been scared away from the park and I think that just brings the criminal element to the surface.”
Just a few kilometres away, the Prospect Point restaurant, another Stanley Park tenant, has pulled the plug for the season and boarded up its windows.
The business doesn’t plan to reopen until the spring.
On Saturday, Vancouver police couldn’t confirm if they would increase patrols in the park but said they would look into the issue.
That’s not much comfort to Kelly.
“We are a sitting duck,” he said. “That’s how I describe it.”View link »