British Columbia

Vancouver police increase patrols near Strathcona Park

The Vancouver Police Department has increased the number of patrol officers in the Strathcona neighbourhood, despite fewer calls for service this summer compared to last year. 

Calls to police in Strathcona neighbourhood down compared to 2019, but calls regarding park are up, VPD says

Strathcona Park, shown here on July 10, is the site of Vancouver's newest tent city, after tents at Oppenheimer Park and Crab Park were dismantled in the spring. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

The Vancouver Police Department has increased the number of patrol officers in the Strathcona neighbourhood, despite fewer calls for service this summer compared to last year. 

Although calls for service are down in the area overall, calls regarding Strathcona Park have increased this summer and the community has raised concerns about "decreasing levels of public safety," VPD Const. Tania Visintin said.

Five more officers have been deployed to the neighbourhood since last week to patrol the park and surrounding area, she said.

Strathcona Park is the site of Vancouver's newest tent city, after tents at Oppenheimer Park and Crab Park were dismantled in the spring.

"The VPD has received feedback from the community about the deteriorating levels of public safety," Visintin said in a statement.

"Everyone has the right to feel safe and comfortable at home and in their neighbourhood."

Visintin could not say how many residents had voiced concerns, but that it was "more than usual."

Criminal activity likely underreported, VPD says

In July, police received 1,818 calls for service in the Strathcona neighbourhood, down from 2,345 calls during the same month last year. 

In June this year, police received 1,572 calls, down from 1,908 last year. 

Calls to police regarding incidents in the blocks directly surrounding Strathcona Park have also gone down, from 203 in July 2019 to 175 last month, and from 229 in June 2019 to 133 in June this year.

However, police say calls for service have increased specifically for Strathcona Park.

Last month, police received 39 calls, up from 15 in July 2019. In June, they received 33 calls, up from 15 in June 2019.

Police say they suspect the numbers don't reflect the reality in the neighbourhood as a whole.

"We suspect that suspicious activity or criminal activity in the area may be underreported at this time," Visintin said.

"Although the numbers don't show an increase in calls, we have heard directly from the community about the level of fear and concern. We are encouraging residents to report incidents to police."

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