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Vandalism in downtown Vancouver has become so common, a non-profit has stepped in to help

Click to play video: 'Downtown Vancouver businesses struggle with costly vandalism'
Downtown Vancouver businesses struggle with costly vandalism
Frustration is growing in Downtown Vancouver, as businesses continue to deal with broken windows. The senseless vandalism is becoming so common that a local non-profit is stepping up to help shops pay for the repairs. As Emad Agahi reports, it's an expensive problem threatening the livelihood of business owners who are still recovering from the pandemic – Oct 25, 2022

Frustration is growing in downtown Vancouver, especially for a business that has had to fix broken windows at its store repeatedly.

The thickness of the glass and the obvious barriers behind it installed months ago for extra security were not enough to deter a now common and costly crime.

“First thing was a call to the glass company in the middle of the night,” Josh Bloomfield said, Cycle City’s owner. “Because of gates and security, no one got in, but we are left with quite a mess to clean up.”

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Bloomfield said downtown merchants certainly budget for security costs, but many cannot keep up with the frequency of break-ins and acts of vandalism.

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“(This) could cost anywhere from $3,000 to $12,000,” Bloomfield told Global News. “Security is a cost of doing business but this is higher than what they should expect. Sometimes there are thefts, sometimes it’s vandalism.”

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These events are happening so often in downtown Vancouver, an organization supporting the business community has launched a special grant to help storefronts pay for repairs to windows, doors, and locks.

It’s willing to match up to 50 percent of the cost, to a maximum of $5,000.

“We thought it was really important that we lean in and support our small businesses who are experiencing higher deductibles and cost of broken windows,” said Nolan Marshall III, Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association’s president.

“This is a small but significant program we think will go a long way in helping those businesses.”

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Bloomfield has applied for the grant with his fingers crossed for approval. He does not believe more policing will solve the issue in downtown Vancouver.

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“Clearly more mental health services are needed,” said Bloomfield. “It is really the financial and emotional impact that something like this has. It’s the worst part.”

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