Date: Friday, June 17, 2022
Victoria, BC – VicPD’s Youth Violence and Vandalism Interdiction and Engagement Response Team has seen a significant decline in calls for violence or vandalism associated with groups of youths gathering in downtown Victoria. There have been no reported incidents of violence or vandalism associated with groups of youth gathering downtown for a two-week period.
For a nine-week period, officers responded to calls for service for violent offences and vandalism related to large groups of youths gathering in downtown Victoria and consuming drugs and alcohol. This response resulted in 60 investigations and 24 arrests ranging from public intoxication to possession of weapons, assault, assault with a weapon, and mischief. These include:
- A random attack in which a 70-year-old man was swarmed by a group of 25 youths. He was left with significant, but non-life-threatening facial injuries after being kicked, punched and spat on;
- A random attack on a couple in which a woman was swarmed, followed by a group of youths, and choked;
- A random attack on an unhouse couple that saw a youth struck in the face with a flashlight;
- The swarming of a VicPD officer as he arrested a youth armed with bear spray, knives and wearing a balaclava. The officer was responding to a call for multiple youths engaged in a “bear spray fight”;
- Tickets issued to an older male who purchased alcohol for underage youth;
- Vandalism, including significant damage to a Vespa scooter, several broken windows in various downtown buildings and graffiti;
- Seizure of weapons including significant amounts of bear spray, pepper spray and numerous knives; and
- A random attack on a couple, who fled to their vehicle, which was surrounded and damaged. A youth was sent to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries in this incident.
Drugs and a knife seized from a youth during an arrest
A “box cutter” style knife seized from a youth
A shattered window. Two youths were arrested in this incident and face recommended mischief charges.
The significant majority of youths involved were from across Greater Victoria.
Officers and staff from across VicPD, including the Community Services Division (CSD), Patrol Division, Investigative Services Division (ISD) and Community Engagement Division (CED) all responded. The response included direct outreach and engagement with partners including the Saanich Police Department, Oak Bay Police, the Central Saanich Police Service, West Shore RCMP and Sidney/North Saanich RCMP, as well as school districts across the regions including SD61, SD62 and SD63, private schools, municipalities, youth probation, community groups, parents, families and youths themselves to foster short, medium and long-term solutions. Our response included a series of #VicPDLive tweetalongs on our VicPD Canada Twitter account.
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