Vancouver Police provide free rear address plates to Strathcona neighborhood

Deputy Chief Constable Howard Chow

VANCOUVER Police have launched a new initiative aimed at getting residents to display their laneway address to make it easier for first responders to locate their home, if needed. Thanks to the Vancouver Police Foundation, about 400 free address plates will be provided to homes in a Strathcona neighbourhood.

“No one questions the importance of a visible address to first responders in an emergency, but most people don’t consider the alley-side of their homes,” says Deputy Chief Constable Howard Chow of the VPD’s Operations division. “There are many situations when police officers, firefighters, or paramedics need to find your home from the alley. The moments wasted going to the front of the house could mean the difference between life and death.”

As part of the pilot project, volunteers from the Strathcona Community Policing Centre will distribute information cards and free metal address plates to a Strathcona neighbourhood. An informal audit of the pilot neighbourhood revealed that 419 of the 570 residences did not have an address displayed in the rear of the home – 74 per cent of the homes between the areas of Vernon Avenue to Gore Avenue, and Pender Street to Atlantic Street.

“The Vancouver Police Foundation is proud to support initiatives that contribute to the safety of Vancouver residents,” says Andrea Wright, Executive Director, Vancouver Police Foundation. “In the past 40 years, we have provided $8 million in funding to more than 150 safety initiatives that fall outside of the VPD’s annual budget.”

The City of Vancouver address bylaw states residents are obligated to maintain suitable address signage, lighting, and access for all buildings on their property onto the street which their address is based, but does not require residents to mark their addresses on the rear of their premises.

“The bottom line is that we can’t help you if we can’t find you,” adds Chow.

The VPD will monitor police response times in the area and encourages all residents in Vancouver to ensure their addresses are visible from the back lane.

To learn more about the Vancouver Police Foundation, visit