WARM weather brought huge crowds to Vancouver’s parks and beaches over the weekend, keeping Vancouver Police officers busy as they responded to multiple serious incidents.
“Summer temperatures always bring more people to the city from surrounding communities, and after a rainy start to the year, we’re glad to see people getting out to enjoy the sun in Vancouver,” said Sgt. Steve Addison on Monday. “While the vast majority of people stayed safe and acted responsibly, whenever we see this many people gathering outside, there’s bound to be more incidents requiring police.”
VPD officers responded to more than 1,800 incidents between Friday and Monday, an increase of 36 per cent from the same time last year. That included 28 calls to the beaches, a 250-per-cent increase from the same time last year.
Incidents of note:
- A 23-year-old Vancouver man was partying with a group of people at English Bay on Friday night when someone bear-sprayed him in the face. The suspect disappeared into the crowd and was not located. VPD officers were patrolling the waterfront when they were flagged over to help. The officers assisted the victim and remained with him until Vancouver Fire Rescue Services arrived to decontaminate him.
- A 16-year-old boy was stabbed multiple times at Davie and Denman Street on Friday night. He suffered several superficial wounds and was treated at hospital. The VPD investigation is ongoing and the suspect has not been identified, however the victim told officers he had been stabbed by another teen.
- Officers working in the Granville Entertainment District were flagged over outside the Roxy nightclub on Friday night. Patrons waiting in line reported that a man had flashed a gun at them. VPD’s Gang Crime Unit arrested the suspect walking near Granville and Robson Street a few minutes later and recovered a loaded handgun. The suspect is a 19-year-old man from Surrey.
While officers in the downtown core and the West End were kept busy with big crowds brought on by warm weather, police patrolling other areas of the city responded to several serious incidents, including four stabbings and four suspicious fires. VPD also seized six firearms during the weekend.
- On the Downtown Eastside, VPD officers launched a robbery investigation early Sunday morning after someone pick-pocketed a man who was unconscious and overdosing near Main and Hastings streets. VPD officers arrested the 34-year-old suspect as he was attempting to flee.
- On the west side, more than 20 VPD officers responded Friday night after a man allegedly pulled a knife and assaulted a stranger inside the locker room at Hillcrest Community Centre. The suspect fled, but VPD officers located and arrested him nearby. The suspect, a 32-year-old Vancouver man, has been charged with assault with a weapon, uttering threats, and possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose.
- In South Vancouver, more than a dozen VPD officers assisted in the arrest of five armed and dangerous suspects who attempted to evade police in a vehicle late Friday night. Police recovered two firearms from the car.
The weekend was the third busiest of 2023 for VPD, behind only spring break and St. Patrick’s Day weekend. With more hot weather in the forecast, VPD anticipates demand for police services will remain high. Extra officers will patrol the busy beaches, parks, and entertainment areas to keep people safe.
“We’re thrilled to see people getting outside and enjoying the warm weather, and we want everyone to have a good time,” said Addison. “If you see a crime in progress or your safety is in immediate danger, please call 9-1-1 so our officers can respond immediately.”