City of Victoria: 2022 – Q4

As part of our ongoing Open VicPD transparency initiative, we introduced Community Safety Report Cards as a way to keep everyone up to date with how the Victoria Police Department is serving the public.  These report cards, which are published quarterly in two community-specific versions (one for Victoria and one for Esquimalt), offer both quantitative and qualitative information about crime trends, operational incidents, and community engagement initiatives.  It is hoped that, through this proactive sharing of information, our citizens have a better understanding of how VicPD is working toward its strategic vision of “A Safer Community Together.

Victoria Community Information

The Victoria Police Department’s accomplishments, opportunities and challenges from 2022 are best highlighted through the three main strategic goals of VicPD as outlined in our strategic plan.

Support Community Safety

VicPD supported community safety throughout 2022 38,909 responses to calls for service, as well as ongoing investigation of offenses. However, the severity of crime in VicPD’s jurisdiction (as measured by Statistics Canada’s Crime Severity Index), remained among the highest of municipally-policed jurisdictions in B.C., and well above the provincial average. In addition, VicPD’s ability to respond to the volume and severity of calls was challenged significantly in 2022 due to a continuing trend of officer injuries due to both physical and mental health causes, and the outfall of the June 28 BMO shooting.

Enhance Public Trust

VicPD remains committed to earning and enhancing the public’s trust in our organization through the Open VicPD online information hub which allows citizens to access a wide range of information including community service results, quarterly Community Safety Report Cards, community updates and online crime mapping. As a measure of public trust, the 2022 VicPD Community Survey findings indicated that 82% of respondents in Victoria and Esquimalt were satisfied with VicPD’s service (equal to 2021), and 69% agreed that they feel safe and taken care of by VicPD (down from 71% in 2021). VicPD and especially the GVERT received an outpouring of visible support in the months following the June 28 BMO shooting.

Achieve Organizational Excellence

The primary focus for organizational improvements in 2022 was hiring a significant number of new and experienced police officers and staff to fill operational gaps and retirements in the Department. In 2022, VicPD hired a total of 44 staff including 14 new recruits, 10 experienced officers, 4 Special Municipal Constables, 4 jailers and 12 civilians.

In addition, by incorporating high quality training, the Investigative Services Division continued to build capacity to investigate emerging crime trends including: virtual and real kidnapping events, cybercrimes, and human trafficking. In 2022 Major Crimes Detectives received kidnapping training from experts from the National Crime Agency, Kidnap and Extortion Unit, United Kingdom. While the Forensic Identification Section built its capacity to carry out Shooting Incident Reconstruction, a technique that was utilized at the June 2022 shooting at the Bank of Montreal in Saanich; VicPD’s Forensic Identification Section took the lead on the shooting reconstruction component at this complex crime scene.

In 2022 all officers completed mandatory trauma-informed practices training.

VicPD continues to make progress in our three main strategic goals outlined in the VicPD Strategic Plan 2020. In Q4, the following goal-specific work was accomplished:

Support Community Safety

The Community Services Division re-instated Reserve duties and hours, and commenced training of a new class of Reserve Constables.

In cooperation with the BC Solicitor General’s Civil Forfeiture Office (CFO), VicPD’s Investigative Services Division began working with a full time CFO officer, embedded at VicPD, who assists with the preparation of civil forfeiture applications. These applications allow the Province to seize assets including money and property when there is evidence that they were used in the commission of an offence. Typically, these seizures are the result of drug investigations where offenders are found in possession of large amount of cash and vehicles acquired through the sale of illicit substances. This CFO position is fully funded by the Province and will enhance VicPD’s capacity to take the profit out of illicit drug trafficking.

The Records Division implemented enhanced report writing initiatives to improve file clearance rates, as reported to the Canadian Centre for Justice and Community Safety Statistics. They also conducted internal assessments of the Exhibit Unit to reduce the amount of property being collected and retained by the Victoria Police Department and to enhance exhibit labelling and storage methods to ensure our processes meet or exceeded industry standards.

Enhance Public Trust

With the lifting of COVID restrictions, patrol members attended community events again and the Community Services Division facilitated new Victoria City Council members to come out on ‘walk-abouts’ with HR OIC and Community Resource Officers.

In cooperation with the Community Engagement Division, the Investigative Services Division’s Strike Force team continued to inform the public through media releases about their ongoing efforts to combat the overdose crisis through drug enforcement. Strike Force focused their efforts on mid to high level fentanyl and methamphetamine dealers as part of Canada’s National Drug Strategy to reduce overdose deaths.

The Records Division increased emphasis on purging archived files to reduce the amount of data being held by the Victoria Police Department that met the retention period.

VicPD also actively participated in providing recommendations regarding the collection of data on Indigenous and racialized identity of all victims and accused persons as it pertains to criminal incidents through the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) survey.

Achieve Organizational Excellence

In the 4th quarter, VicPD delivered recommendations on the Court Liaison position and created a Missing Persons Investigator position. The Patrol Division also completed in-house training in patrol tactics, less-lethal training, and training for new and acting NCOs.

The Records Division continued to implement and enhance the use of the Provincial Digital Evidence Management system that allows the department and investigators to store, manage, transfer, receive and share digital evidence, while working with our provincial justice partners on improved disclosure methods and standardization.

October saw investigators respond to a series of random attacks, including an assault with a weapon where a man was struck in the head from behind with a hammer, another where a man was stabbed multiple times in the arms and chest and transported to hospital for emergency medical treatment and an arrest after a man was randomly punched in the face by a stranger at a bus stop.

Officers also arrested a man and seized a baseball bat, a knife and clips for a replica firearm after responding to a robbery in which that man, armed with a bat, chased another man down a street.

Investigators sought information after a homemade “mace” was located at a multi-unit residential housing facility in the 1900-block of Douglas Street.

October also saw the continuation of an investigation that saw a man arrested after multiple reports in a sophisticated property crime series, after a man recognized the person claiming to be his potentially new landlord had been arrested for a series of similar property crimes.

Members of the Greater Victoria Emergency Response Team (GVERT) as well as detectives with VicPD’s Major Crime Unit arrested a suspect after a series of incidents in which potential buyers, who contacted a Used Victoria “seller” of used video game consoles, were instead robbed at gunpoint when they met to complete the purchase. The suspect lured his potential victims through a series of ads placed on the Used Victoria website, which advertised a used PlayStation5 and other recently released video game consoles for sale for prices significantly below the going rate. During the arrest, detectives located several realistic replica firearms.

VicPD teamed up with Used Victoria to respond to the robberies and issue a public warning about these incidents.

Two officers were attacked by an impaired driver after they originally responded to a report that a stranger attacked their vehicle. While officers were investigating the damage to the vehicle, the suspect returned to the scene while driving a car. Officers stopped the suspect vehicle and discovered the driver was impaired. When officers issued an Immediate Roadside Prohibition (IRP), the suspect became enraged and attacked the officers. The suspect was arrested without incident.

In November, officers ensured that attendees were safe and that a Jewish film festival’s events were able to take place after threats targeting that festival were received by organizers. Out of an abundance of caution, VicPD officers provided a highly-visible presence at the venue’s events over the weekend to ensure attendees were safe.

Investigators began their search for a suspect after women reported that a liquid was thrown on them by an unknown person downtown. The investigation continued into the new year.

In December, Cybercrime continued to harm people in Victoria and Esquimalt. Investigators warned the public after a sophisticated phishing and bitcoin scam cost a victim $49,999. Professional and intimidating, the fraudsters coached the victim to report that the money was being withdrawn to purchase property. The fraudsters then directed the victim to deposit the cash through various Bitcoin ATMs throughout Greater Victoria. It was only then that the victim realized they had been the victim of a fraud and contacted police.

Investigators sought information and witnesses as they worked to locate and identify two men who sexually assaulted a teenage exchange student in Topaz Park on December 6, 2022. Our investigation into this incident continues.

Community Services Division officers conducted a three-day retail theft project in response to concerns about shoplifting and safety from local businesses. The project resulted in 17 arrests, seizures of weapons including knives, airsoft pistols and bear spray and the recovery of approximately $5,000 in stolen merchandise including high-end jackets and athletic wear, Lego and other toys. Retail theft projects continue into the new year.

VicPD’s Community Engagement Division continued to support efforts to attract volunteers, civilian staff, new officer recruits and experienced officers. In addition to a recruiting-centered relaunch of, efforts this year have included in-person engagements, social media outreach and banners on the building at 850 Caledonia Avenue. A recruiting-focused Instagram reel has garnered over 750 likes and over 22,000 views.

November saw the announcement of VicPD’s newest spokesperson Constable Terri Healy. Constable Healy is the first woman to serve as VicPD’s spokesperson. Constable Healy began with VicPD in 2006 as a volunteer Reserve Constable and was hired as a police officer with VicPD in 2008. Constable Healy has spent the last eight years of her career working in community policing as a Community Resource Officer. Constable Healy sees community engagement as an essential part of policing and is excited for her new role.

VicPD Traffic Constable Stephen Pannekoek was recognized by the BC Association of Chiefs of Police for his contributions to traffic safety in Victoria and Esquimalt.

In two ceremonies, Chief Manak honoured 11 people, including community members as well as City of Victoria Bylaw Services and members of the Our Place Society family, who all rushed to help VicPD Cst. Todd Mason after he was struck from behind by the driver of a stolen vehicle on September 27, 2021.

“The courage and quick thinking you and your staff all displayed that morning truly showed your willingness to assist someone who needed your help,” Chief Del Manak said. “All of us here at VicPD are so grateful for your quick actions and bravery that morning in assisting Cst. Mason. On behalf of all of us here at VicPD – thank you.”

VicPD returned to celebrate the holidays while keeping people safe and focused on friends, family and fun across a series of events including the Santa Lights Parade, the Esquimalt Celebration of Lights, the Truck Light Parade and more.

We honoured long-serving VicPD volunteer Kathryn Dunford with a VicPD Civic Service Award. Kathryn retires after 26 years and over 3,700 hours of service to VicPD in both Victoria and Esquimalt. If you’ve been into our front counter you’ve likely been helped by Kathryn as she’s helped thousands of community members seeking assistance and access to resources. Thank you Kathryn!

For more notable files, please visit our community updates page.

At the end of the year a net operating deficit of approximately $92,000 is expected due to retirement expenditures exceeding the budget. We continue to experience a significant number of retirements, a trend that is likely to continue for the foreseeable future. These numbers are not yet finalized and as we complete the year end process they may yet change. Capital expenditures were approximately $220,000 below budget due to delays in vehicle deliveries and the unused capital funds will be rolled over into the 2023 budget.