Following more crime and disorder in the downtown core, Vancouver police said it is redeploying officers in the business district.
Police said the hardest-hit areas are Granville Street and the West End. The Vancouver Police Department will deploy officers on foot and by bicycle to increase the street-level police presence.
Vancouver police said officers will also be working behind the scenes to “identify and target chronic offenders” to solve crimes that have already happened.
“We’re hearing loud and clear from business owners and residents who don’t feel safe and are frustrated by rising crime,” Sgt. Steve Addison of the VPD said in a release. “We share those concerns, and we’re committed to suppressing crime and restoring a sense of safety in the community.”
“We know that many of these crimes are committed by a small number of career criminals, and we’re going to make life uncomfortable for them,” Addison said. “We also know there are a lot of people facing homelessness, addiction, and mental illness in the downtown core. We want to assure the community that these vulnerable people will not be the focus of our attention.”
Last fall, Vancouver police launched a Neighbourhood Response Team to tackle street-level crime and targeted violent and chronic shoplifters.
Police said during the 42-day deployment the team took 1,400 calls, seized 210 weapons, and liaised with more than 300 vulnerable people to ensure their safety and wellbeing.
Project Arrow, which was launched in January following a 260 per cent increase in violent shoplifting incidents in 2020, resulted in 130 arrests, $37,093 in recovered merchandise, and the seizure of 35 weapons in less than 40 days, police added.