British Columbia

Trip wires found in multiple locations in Victoria, B.C., police say

Victoria police are asking the public to be mindful of their surroundings while walking or cycling in the Vic West and Burnside areas of the city, after trip wire was discovered in multiple locations over the past week.

VicPD asks members of the public to be aware of their surroundings while walking or biking

Police say fishing line strung up in public spaces is difficult to spot and poses an extreme safety hazard. (Victoria Police Department)

Victoria police are asking the public to be mindful of their surroundings while walking or cycling in the Vic West and Burnside areas of the city, after trip wire was discovered in multiple locations over the past week. 

On Aug. 20, police discovered semi-transparent fishing line set across a staircase in Cecilia Ravine Park near the Galloping Goose trail, hanging about a foot from the ground. Last Wednesday, police received another report of fishing line set two inches off the ground deliberately tied across a dock ramp at Regatta Landing.

The two incidents occurred within a couple kilometres of each other, and police are investigating the likelihood of the same person or group having been involved in both.

Spokesperson Bowen Osoko said trip wire could pose deadly or life-altering risks to pedestrians and cyclists, citing a local cyclist who sustained a serious injury after riding over trip wire a few years ago.

"Falling from height onto concrete and striking your head can kill you," he explained.

On Aug. 20, Victoria police discovered semi-transparent fishing line deliberately set across a public staircase in Cecilia Ravine Park near the Galloping Goose Trail. (Victoria Police Department)

Osoko said it's "possible that there have been other cases" that haven't been reported, noting that the person who discovered the fishing line at Regatta Landing wasn't initially going to notify police. 

Corey Burger from the Greater Victoria Cycling Coalition said he's discouraged. Trip wire cases don't happen often in the area, but when they do, they can be very difficult to spot before it's too late. 

"If you've ever been hit in the face with a branch while biking, that'll tell you how hard something even smaller would be to see," said Burger, adding that trip wire cases "create the perception that biking is less safe." 

Similar trip wire cases in the last few years

Burger said that, in the past, trip wire has been discovered on local mountain biking trails.

In the summer of 2013, trip wire left a large gash in a mountain biker's throat as he was cycling in Gowlland Tod Provincial Park. 

A year later, police on Vancouver Island removed over 30 metres of fishing line that had been strung across roads in Langford, B.C, after a woman reported that she had driven through it. 

In one incident in 2010, an Edmonton woman suffered cuts to her face and neck after she rode her bicycle into a fishing line strung across a bike path in Rundle Park.

'Document it and report it'

Osoko said as police continue to investigate, they ask the public to be aware of their surroundings if they happen to be near Regatta Landing or in Cecilia Ravine Park along the Galloping Goose trail.

If you come across trip wire, "document it first with your phone, then please call our non-emergency line," he said, noting that if you happen to see someone stringing up trip wire in a public space, you should call 911, as you're witnessing a "crime in progress."

About the Author

Adam van der Zwan is a journalist based in Victoria, British Columbia. You can send him a news tip at adam.van.der.zwan@cbc.ca.

With files from Rhiannon Coppin

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