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VicPD arrests eight in crackdown on weekend youth crime sprees

Three of the youths arrested required medical treatment for alcohol and drug intoxication, police said.

Victoria police arrested eight youths over the weekend in an effort to crack down on escalating violent crime and vandalism downtown.

Three of the youths arrested required medical treatment for alcohol and drug intoxication.

Officers also seized knives, drugs and alcohol.

Police said parents were called to retrieve their teenagers from VicPD cells, where they were informed of release conditions, including orders not to return to downtown.

“I’ve not seen in the past young people coming downtown, gathering in groups of sometimes up to 50 or more, consuming alcohol or drugs and then committing this level of violence and vandalism,” Const. Mark Jenkins of the department’s Community Services Division said in a statement. “It was back-to-back calls from the public during our Friday night deployment.”

Police said last week that youths from surrounding municipalities are flooding into downtown on weekend evenings to drink and do drugs and then go on rampages that include assaults with weapons, random swarming attacks on unsuspecting people and acts of mischief, vandalism and property damage.

VicPD beefed up their presence in the core in response to more than two dozen calls related to youth violence and vandalism over a three-week period.

Police arrested six youths Friday for a variety of incidents, including breaching conditions, vandalism, weapons possession and public intoxication.

A scooter was damaged in Bastion Square by a group of youths. Officers contacted the owner, who faces several hundred dollars worth of repairs for a shattered windscreen and other damages.

A window was also shattered by youths on View Street, despite police presence nearby. Two were arrested and face mischief charges.

On Saturday night, police made two more arrests for vandalism after a business was targeted in the 1200-block of Douglas Street.

There were no reported injuries Friday and Saturday night.

VicPD said it continues to work with community policing partners, school districts from across the region, private schools, B.C. Transit, regional municipalities, community groups, parents and families to resolve the issue.

Police said officers will be back at key locations this weekend.

Anyone who sees a group assaulting someone or damaging property is asked to call 911. Anyone with any information about these incidents is asked to call the VicPD Report Desk at 250-995-7654, ext. 1.

dkloster@timescolonist.com