More than one hundred tents have been spread out over Topaz Park. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)

More than one hundred tents have been spread out over Topaz Park. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)

Victoria police reports 126 per cent increase in calls near Topaz Park

Officers conducting proactive enforcement, remaining highly visible to combat the rising trend

The Victoria Police Department reports a more than 100 per cent increase in calls for service near Topaz Park since March 15.

On March 23 the City of Victoria said it would open three parks as temporary sites for the area’s homeless population to help support social distancing regulations. Since then, plans have changed and only one site — Topaz Park — is being used to support the homeless, in addition to those who have chosen to stay on Pandora Avenue.

READ ALSO: Victoria Police see new trends in calls due to COVID-19

According to Cameron MacIntyre, spokesperson for VicPD, since March 15 VicPD is reporting a 126 per cent increase in calls near Topaz Park. Most calls are related to public disorder, which MacIntyre says could include anything from unwanted persons, panhandlers, people intoxicated in public, fights and drug-related calls such as open-air drug use. MacIntyre said they’ve seen a 260 per cent increase in public disorder service calls in that area as well in the same time period.

Overall VicPD has seen a 22 per cent increase in calls for service since March 15.

“We have been focusing on areas such as this where we have had rising calls for service. Our officers are conducting proactive enforcement and remaining highly visible to combat the rising trend,” said MacIntyre.

City of Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps addressed the issue at the City’s daily briefing on April 16, saying the Victoria and Esquimalt Police Board – which she co-chairs – anticipates an update from VicPD at its next meeting April 21.

“At that point, we’ll get an update from the chief on whether he feels new resources are warranted, at which point, I guess the police board would potentially open up its budget and have those kinds of conversations with both councils,” Helps said, adding that the virus has suspended training at the Justice Institute of B.C.

“We can do all of the authorization for hiring that we want,” she said. “But there’s no ability to train new officers at this point.”

READ ALSO: Victoria police seize fake gun, weapons during arrest near Topaz Park

Topaz Park sits a block away from the Saanich-Victoria border at Tolmie Avenue. The Saanich Police Department has also noted a general increase in property-related crimes — up by 30 per cent from March 13 to April 15 when compared to the same period in 2019.

“Over the past month, Saanich police have investigated a significant increase in property related crimes such as break and enters to businesses, underground parking garages, and thefts from motor vehicles. We have taken measures by allocating resources to assist in both preventing and investigating these types of criminal activities in Saanich,” said Markus Anastasiades, public information and communications officer with the Saanich Police Department. “Comparatively, reports of violent crimes have significantly reduced over the same time period.”

With files from Nina Grossman.



kendra.crighton@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Scaredy Cats television series has turned Empress Avenue in Fernwood into a Halloween themed neighbourhood. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
PHOTOS: Trick or treat! Halloween comes to Fernwood in January

New television series Scaredy Cats filming in Victoria

Saanich has awarded the tender for a youth bike skills park planned for the lot next to the George Tripp BC Hydro Substation off Lochside Drive to Bike Track Ltd. for $242,000. (Black Press Media file photo)
Saanich selects company to build youth bike skills track at Tripp Station Park

More than $240,000 allotted for Bike Track Ltd. to design bike park

An architectural rendering provides a look at PC Urban’s proposal for three buildings on the former Galaxy Motors property at 1764 Island Hwy. in Colwood. (Rendering courtesy of PC Urban)
Commercial/industrial development planned for former Galaxy Motors site

Colwood proposal goes to public hearing Jan. 25

Members of the Victoria Police Department, some of whom are shown here observing a moment of silence for victims of a mass shooting in Nova Scotia, experience stress and potential trauma more than most other workers, says Chief Const. Del Manak. While the number of shifts lost at VicPD are soaring, he sees it as a sign people are taking their own health and wellness seriously. (Black Press Media file photo)
Skyrocketing number of lost shifts at Victoria police has a positive side, chief says

Chief Const. Del Manak says officers, staff being more proactive looking after their mental health

A Seed and Stone rendering for White Rock, B.C. (Seed and Stone rendering)
Songhees Nation to open two Victoria cannabis stores spring 2021

Seed and Stone stores will open on Gordon Street and in the Bay Centre

Syringe is prepared with one of B.C.’s first vials of Pfizer vaccine to prevent COVID-19, Victoria, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 caseload stays steady with 465 more Tuesday

No new outbreaks in health care facilities, 12 more deaths

The objectives of the Vancouver Island Down Syndrome Society include peer support for parents and caregivers, as well as developing support services, projects, educational and employment opportunities for people with Down Syndrome. Photo supplied.
Vancouver Island Down Syndrome Society offers support for families in the community

New non-profit seeking directors in cities across Vancouver Island

A memorial for the fatal bus crash involving the Humboldt Broncos hockey team at the intersection of Highways 35 and 335 near Tisdale, Tuesday, October 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Liam Richards
‘End of the road:’ Truck driver in Humboldt Broncos crash awaits deportation decision

Sidhu was sentenced almost two years ago to eight years after pleading guilty to dangerous driving

Stand up paddleboarder Christie Jamieson is humbled to her knees as a pod of transient orcas put on a dramatic show on Jan. 19 in the Ucluelet Harbour. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Updated: Ucluelet paddle boarder surrounded by pod of orcas

“My whole body is still shaking. I don’t even know what to do with this energy.”

Chilliwack ER doctor Marc Greidanus is featured in a video, published Jan. 18, 2021, where he demonstrates and describes effectiveness of various styles of masks. (Youtube)
VIDEO: Emergency room doctor runs through pros and cons of various masks

‘We’ve been asked to wear a mask and it’s not that hard,’ Greidanus says.

(Pixabay photo)
VIDEO: Tip to Metro Vancouver transit police helps woman 4,000 km away in Ohio

Sgt. Clint Hampton says transit police were alerted to a YouTube video of the woman in mental distress

A woman types on her laptop in Miami in a Monday, Dec. 12, 2016, photo illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Wilfredo Lee
British Columbia government lax on cybersecurity practices, auditor reports

The audit did not highlight a specific threat, but it found breaches in cybersecurity are increasing globally

New Westminster TV production designer, Rick Whitfield, has designed an office in a box for British Columbians in need of a private workspace. (BC Box Office photo)
PHOTOS: B.C. man designs ‘box office’ solution for those working from home

‘A professionally designed workspace on your property, away from the distractions of home’

A mattress on fire gutted the second floor hallway at Town Park Apartments C-block Jan. 17. (Port Hardy Fire Rescue images)
‘Suspicious’ Port Hardy apartment fire could keep tenants out of their homes for months

A burning mattress created smoke and heat, causing several tenants to jump from windows

Most Read