Skip to content
Join our Newsletter

Victoria police launch effort to connect with downtown businesses

Six-week initiative will see officers listen to businesses’ concerns, including the impact that retail theft, property crime and street disorder have on their operations
Boarded-up broken glass doors at the Humboldt Street entrance to Noota Court in February. Many downtown businesses have been plagued by broken glass. DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST

Victoria police launched Project Downtown Connect this week to meet with businesses and increase their visibility in the downtown area.

The initiative started Monday, and will see officers on foot engaging with businesses daily until June 30, listening to their concerns, including the impact that retail theft, property crime and street disorder have on their operations.

“Engaging with local businesses helps us understand the specific, day-to-day challenges they face, and answers the call for a more visible presence in the downtown core,” said Victoria Police Chief Del Manak. “Through this project, we will provide businesses with crime-prevention tools and a meaningful connection to our organization, so we can build a safer community together.”

Downtown Victoria Business Association chief executive Jeff Bray said he supports the approach.

“Having more police presence I think is beneficial,” he said. “It certainly provides a sense of safety for businesses and their employees.”

Officers tell him they also get a positive response to the project, Bray said. “It’s one of these things that works well for both.”

The project builds on similar efforts to work with businesses that began in late 2019.

Victoria police launched a three-day crackdown from Nov. 29-Dec. 1 last year on retail theft downtown and at the Hillside and Mayfair shopping centres. It resulted to 17 shoplifting arrests, weapon seizures and recovery of about $5,000 worth of stolen goods.

Recent incidents downtown include a hammer-wielding man robbing Francis Jewellers on Broughton Street in April, along with a string of random glass-breaking.

[email protected]

>>> To comment on this article, write a letter to the editor: [email protected]