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

Bill Almond’s observatory in its new home on a Saanich lakeside. (Submitted/Cameron Burton)
Colwood stargazing dome makes a move to Saanich

The backyard structure finds a new home after 30 years

Chris Grzywacz, Seed and Stone’s development agent, holds products from the Songhees Cannabis S + S store on April 20. (Jake Romphf/ News Staff)
First cannabis store opens on Songhees Nation, creates economic opportunity says chief

The Songhees Cannabis S + S had a soft launch at its 1502 Admirals Road location on April 20

A convicted sex offender, whose crimes included offences against children, was arrested at Gonzales Beach after the man was spotted by an off-duty officer. (Black Press Media file photo)
Convicted sex offender arrested at Gonzales Beach

After committing crimes involving children, offender barred from public beaches, being in proximity to kids

VicPD asks anyone who sees Daniel Shumka, or with information on his whereabouts to call 250-995-7654 or report anonymously through Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477. (Courtesy VicPD)
Victoria police seek man wanted on drug trafficking charges

Daniel Shumka, 50, is 6’1” and about 195 pounds with short brown hair and brown eyes

Victoria police arrested three men following a double stabbing April 19. The two victims suffered non-life-threatening injuries. (Black Press Media file photo)
Three arrested after double stabbing in Victoria

Two people sent to hospital after being stabbed, hit with bear spray

FILE – NDP Leader John Horgan, right, and local candidate Mike Farnworth greet one another with an elbow bump during a campaign stop in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday, September 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. won’t be using random individual road stops to enforce travel rules: Safety Minister

Minister Mike Farnworth says travel checks only being considered at major highway junctions, ferry ports

A man pauses at a coffin after carrying it during a memorial march to remember victims of overdose deaths in Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. announces historic half-billion-dollar funding for overdose crisis, mental health

Of it, $152 million will be used to address the opioid crisis and see the creation of 195 new substance use treatment beds

Children’s backpacks and shoes are seen at a CEFA (Core Education and Fine Arts) Early Learning daycare franchise, in Langley, B.C., on Tuesday May 29, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. budget to expand $10-a-day child care, but misses the mark on ‘truly universal’ system

$111 million will be used to fund 3,750 new $10-a-day spaces though 75 additional ChildCareBC universal prototype sites over the next three years.

Mak Parhar speaks at an anti-mask rally outside the Vancouver Art Gallery on Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020. Parhar was arrested on Nov. 2 and charged with allegedly violating the Quarantine Act after returning from a Flat Earth conference held in Geenville, South Carolina on Oct. 24. (Flat Earth Focker/YouTube.com screenshot)
Judge tosses lawsuit of B.C. COVID-denier who broke quarantine after Flat Earth conference

Mak Parhar accused gov, police of trespass, malfeasance, extortion, terrorism, kidnapping and fraud

Ambulance paramedic in full protective gear works outside Lion’s Gate Hospital, March 23, 2020. Hospitals are seeing record numbers of COVID-19 patients more than a year into the pandemic. (The Canadian Press)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate declines, 849 cases Tuesday

Up to 456 people now in hospital, 148 in intensive care

Christy Clark, who was premier from 2011 to 2017, is the first of several present and past politicians to appear this month before the Cullen Commission, which is investigating the causes and impact of B.C.’s money-laundering problem over the past decade. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)
Christy Clark says she first learned of money-laundering spike in 2015

The former B.C. premier testified Tuesday she was concerned the problem was ‘apparently at an all-time high’

The city asking the public if they want to pursue legal action against the province and their decision to override the city on the Victory Church issue. (Jesse Day Western News)
Penticton ready to sue province over homeless shelter

City council voted unanimously to authorize legal action

Most Read