Vancouver police cite residents' 'fear and concern' in beefing tent camp patrols

VANCOUVER — Police patrols have been stepped up around an east Vancouver park where a tent encampment is growing.

A statement from Vancouver police says five additional police officers and community safety workers have been assigned to the Strathcona neighbourhood because of safety concerns.

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Police say the extra officers will be in place every weekend from Friday to Monday and they are in addition to regular patrol teams assigned to the neighbourhood and Strathcona Park.

Const. Tania Visintin says calls to police have not increased in the neighbourhood, but the department had received feedback about "deteriorating levels of public safety."

She says a crime analyst has also been assigned to monitor and evaluate incidents in the community.

The department has released data showing calls for service across Strathcona are down since last year, but calls related specifically to the park have more than doubled.

"We suspect that suspicious activity or criminal activity in the area may be under reported at this time," Visintin says in the statement.

The department has heard directly about what she describes as "fear and concern," and says police urge residents to report all incidents.

Police will continue to monitor crime data and respond to concerns from residents while staff and elected officials with the city and province work to address the encampment and homelessness in Vancouver, the statement says.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 6, 2020

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