Spike in arson cases in Vancouver

VANCOUVER Police said on Thursday they have seen a significant increase in arson reports citywide and are asking the public to stay vigilant.

“From the beginning of March to the middle of May, we have seen an 83 per cent increase in arsons, when compared to the previous year,” said Constable Tania Visintin. “We don’t want the community to be fearful, however, it is important for the public to be aware of the issue and notify police if they see suspicious activity.”

Since the beginning of April, there have been several suspicious fires that investigators believe have been set off deliberately. Thankfully, in all these situations, no member of the public was injured or displaced.

* On April 6, police were called to investigate a bin fire that had extended into a building. Fire, smoke and water damage are estimated to be one million dollars.

* On April 22, police investigated a fire that had been set to a 100-metre long hedge.

* On April 25, a suspect set a fire at the back of a building next to a natural gas meter.

“These are just a few examples of the arsons that police are investigating,” said Visintin.  “An act like this is extremely dangerous and reckless. Investigators are working hard to catch the person or people responsible.”

All of the arsons are still under investigation. Police have identified a suspect in relation to the arson on April 6 and charges have been approved by Crown counsel.

Anyone with information about any of these arsons is asked to call investigators at 604-717-2541 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-8477. Police are asking the public to call 9-1-1 if they notice any suspicious activity.