British Columbia

Neighbours of Vancouver's Main St. SkyTrain station fear violence and drug use are on the rise

Some residents of the neighbourhood around Vancouver’s Main Street-Science World SkyTrain station say violence and drug use has been getting worse in recent months, and they’re calling on police and the city to take action.

VPD say no increase in calls to Main and Terminal, but they've stepped up patrols

Surveillance footage provided to CBC News shows a man punching a woman in the back of the head before she falls to the ground as she enters the Main Street SkyTrain station in May. (Supplied)

Some residents of the neighbourhood around Vancouver's Main Street-Science World SkyTrain station say violence and drug use has been getting worse in recent months, and they're calling on police and the city to take action.

Patricia Chartrand has lived near Main Street and Terminal Avenue, at the east end of False Creek, for 20 years and says she's seen major changes in the neighbourhood, including increases in drug use, homelessness and violence.

"I actually do feel frightened when I leave my front door," Chartrand told CBC.

"On a regular basis it's very normal to see people who are doing drugs ... it's normal to see excrement smeared everywhere."

In a violent incident caught on surveillance video in May, a woman was walking into the SkyTrain station when a man came up behind her and punched her in the back of the head, knocking her to the ground.

Transit Police say they've completed an investigation and charges are pending against a suspect in the attack. 

Chartrand says she wants to see some solutions from people in power.

"I think we need a comprehensive plan and I keep waiting for the city to stand up and say this is how we're going to deal with your problem.

No increase in calls to police

The Vancouver Police Department says it hasn't seen an increase in calls for service to the neighbourhood, but they have recently stepped up patrols.

"We do have additional resources and officers working that area. We have had that since COVID started," Sgt. Aaron Roed said Thursday.

Nearby resident Rohini Kumar says she's not impressed with how Vancouver officials have handled locals' complaints.

"We make a complaint to the city almost every day, either with the app or we call. And often we've been told that you live in the east side, what do you expect? There are places that are worse than yours," Kumar said.

In a written statement, a city spokesperson said that closures of public facilities during the pandemic have pushed more people out onto the streets, and officials are working with B.C. Housing to find homes for people.

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