NDP homelessness policy straining police resources: BC Liberals

BC Liberals said on Wednesday that crime statistics released earlier this week by the Victoria Police Department outline how police departments are being forced to bear the burden of the NDP’s poor management of homeless shelters and tent encampments.

“These statistics show the impact of Victoria’s homelessness issue on police resources, as officers do their best to keep up with a staggering increase in violence and property crime tied to locations sheltering people experiencing homelessness,” said Mike Morris, Opposition Critic for Public Safety and Solicitor General. “We have been calling on government to increase mental health and addictions supports and take real action to help curb this rise in crime which has resulted from a lack of government help. It’s not fair to the people experiencing homelessness and it is not acceptable for these communities, residents and small businesses to be forced to pay the price of the NDP’s unwillingness to act.”

From June to November 2020, 60 per cent of the priority 1 and 2 emergency calls attended by Victoria Police originated from NDP-run temporary housing facilities, homeless encampments, and their surrounding areas. Several high-profile incidents culminated in police seizing a loaded AR-15 style firearm, drugs, replica handguns, a machete, and other stolen items, said the BC Liberals.

“The NDP are surely aware of the steady rise in criminal behaviour associated with encampments and shelters in the downtown cores of Victoria, Kelowna and Vancouver, but they seem to be washing their hands of any responsibility,” said BC Liberal Housing Critic Ben Stewart. “Without the needed 24/7 wrap-around supports to provide the proper care to at-risk individuals that these housing facilities require, police resources are being stretched thin as they try to ensure community safety. People experiencing homelessness, struggling small businesses, and community residents need real action from this government now.”