A vandalism spree in the early hours of Wedensday morning has left several Victoria business owners picking up the pieces, literally.
“Brown’s Florist here got hit pretty bad, another location just off of Cook Street there, one over on Broughton,” Mike Fritchett with Allied Glass said, as he replaced a storefront window.
“Commonplace, we’ve seen this for quite some weeks now.”
Police tallied 14 locations where the glass had been smashed out of store windows, and they expect even more to come forward.
We’re still tracking his path throughout the early morning hours, we’re still gathering video surveillance and seeing what unfolded,” Const. Cameron MacIntyre said on Wednesday.
With business owners on the hook for damages, the City of Victoria is now stepping in. It announced the creation of a new grant program in partnership with the Downtown Victoria Business Association to support those affected.
“Council unanimously supported this proposal today and we are going to get to work with the DVBA to see what is possible to help businesses through this very challenging time — and these really unfortunate and quite frankly, senseless incidents,” Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps said.
For Jaymie Chadiak, whose business has been hit three times, this comes as welcome news.
“We’ve said, ‘Oh it sure would be nice if the city paid for this,’ because it kind of sucks for all of us and we’re having a hard time right now. I guess the City listened, which is great. We love that.”
While council works out the details of the program, experts warn it’s probably wise for businesses to step up security measures.
“Things like this do highlight the need to provide those updates, do keep on top of your security situation, do look at your own set up,” Tem Greenhalgh of Themis Security said.
Funding can help to fix the damage, but there’s concern this new program is simply a band-aid solution for a much larger problem developing in Victoria’s homeless population.
“They’re hungry, they’re angry,” Chudiak said.
“They’re upset about something and clearly we’re not meeting their needs.”
Victoria police arrested one man, who is currently in custody, and mischief charges are being recommended.
The man is known them, in fact he was arrested stealing a Harbour Ferry just one day earlier, but was released.