City of Victoria: 2023 – Q1

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

Strategic Plan Highlights 

Support Community Safety  

Enhance Public Trust  

Achieve Organizational Excellence 

In the first quarter of 2023 the Patrol Division and the Community Services Division implemented a significant two-year pilot restructuring the resources and workflow in each division. While more formal evaluations of the restructuring will take place in the future, the early indications are that the initiative has improved service delivery to the community, improved job satisfaction within the divisions, and reduced pressures on the Patrol Division.

The new deployment model has allowed members of Patrol more time for proactive work, which has included more foot patrols connecting with businesses and community members, and small projects targeting crimes of concern in our jurisdiction. One of these projects targeted the significant amount of shoplifting at some retailers in the downtown core and resulted in the arrest of 12 people and the return of more than $16,000 of new merchandise.

CSD’s new General Investigation Section (GIS) has resulted in quicker action on files that required investigative work, with dedicated investigators taking on complex files seven days per week. GIS officers had multiple significant files in Q1 ranging from search warrants that resulted in the seizure of multiple loaded firearms, kilograms of controlled substances and hundreds of thousands of dollars of stolen merchandise to the location and arrest of a high-risk offender arrested outside a school. More details on these files are below.

Another key success of 2023’s first quarter has been the launch of the Co-Response Team. VicPD, in partnership with Island Health launched the Co-Response Team (CRT) which is a central response resource for calls involving presumed mental health issues. Part of the restructured CSD, this new program pairs a registered mental health clinician with a police officer to respond together to calls for service in Victoria and Esquimalt that involve a significant mental health component.

This team is already having a significant positive impact. They have handled approximately 250 files as primary investigators in Q1, 38 of which resulted in hospital admissions.

Files of note:

Significant files in Q1 fell under to broad themes: Recovery of stolen goods, illicit substances and weapons as we targeted retail theft and the increased gang activity in the area, and response to random attacks. In total, more than $190,000 in stolen goods, kilograms of illicit substances & weapons seized across multiple files targeting retail theft and drugs. 

Examples of files from the $190,000 recovered include – 

23-| Investigators Recover $94,000 In Stolen Merchandise, $19,000 In Currency And Over 2.5 Kilograms of Drugs During Investigation Into Organized Retail Theft Operation

On February 23, officers from VicPD’s General Investigation Section (GIS) recovered approximately $94,000 in stolen merchandise, $19,000 in Canadian currency and drugs after executing search warrants at two separate Victoria residences. These search warrants emerged from a January 2023 drug trafficking investigation during which officers uncovered a sophisticated retail theft operation involving a large amount of stolen property from downtown retailers and other Victoria businesses. 

Officers determined that individuals would contact a centralized phone number to arrange to “sell” stolen retail items in exchange for drugs. A “dispatcher” would appraise the items over the phone, usually at a fraction of their original retail value, and provide a value for the items in drugs. A driver would then meet the seller who would accept the stolen property in exchange for drugs. Individuals involved in the operation would often make requests or provide lists of desired items to property crime offenders. Several downtown businesses were targeted for specific retail merchandise.

On February 23, GIS investigators executed two search warrants at residences in the 700-block of Courtney Street and the 600-block of Speed Street. During these searches, investigators located approximately $94,000 in new retail merchandise including clothing and athletic wear, wallets, sunglasses, electronics, power tools, children’s toys and other personal accessories. A security tag remover and money counter were also located in one of the residences along with approximately 2.5 kilograms of drugs including cocaine and fentanyl and approximately $19,000 in Canadian currency. This file remains under investigation.

23-1945 | Over $11,000 In Stolen Merchandise Recovered During Project Targeting Downtown Retail Theft

Officers from VicPD’s Patrol division conducted a retail theft project which resulted in eight arrests and the recovery of over $11,000 in stolen merchandise.

Between January 17 and January 20, 2023 Patrol officers targeted shoplifters at a busy downtown retailer. Over the approximately 13-hour project, officers arrested eight people for theft under $5,000 and recovered over $11,000 in stolen merchandise. The individual incidents of theft ranged from $477 to $3,200. One suspect was already on conditions not to be in the area from a previous arrest for shoplifting at the same retailer less than three weeks earlier.

Another project saw 17 arrests and over $5,000 in recovered stolen property. Some of the suspects arrested were already on court ordered conditions related to shoplifting charges and other individuals had outstanding arrest warrants for theft.

VicPD recognizes the impact that retail theft has on the operation of businesses and retail outlets in Victoria and Esquimalt. We encourage retail outlets to continue to report retail theft and shoplifting either by calling the VicPD Report Desk at (250) 995-7654 extension 1 or through our online reporting system at Report an Incident Online –

23-5005 | Man Arrested After Theft of Over $55,000 In Rare Books from Break and Enter

On February 9, officers attended to a report of break and enter that had occurred sometime overnight at a business in the 700-block of Fort Street. The business owners advised that over $55,000 in rare and expensive books had been stolen ranging in individual value from $400 to $10,000.

Working with information from the business owners and other community members, including CCTV footage, police learned that after the break and enter the suspect had tried to enter a multi-unit residential temporary housing facility in the 800-block of Johnson Street but was unsuccessful. In addition, the suspect left behind some of the stolen books in the 800-block of Johnson Street which were taken by another individual but eventually turned over to police.

Later that afternoon, officers located the suspect who matched the description from the CCTV footage. Upon arrest, the man was found in possession of approximately $22,000 in stolen books. Officers determined that he also had three outstanding arrest warrants in BC for offences that included Mischief Under $5000, Possession of Stolen Property Over $5000 and Break and Enter with Intent. He was held in custody to appear in court.

Over $11,000 In Stolen Property Recovered After Search Warrant Leads To Arrest

Files: 23-7488, 23-6079, 23-4898, 23-4869

A Victoria man who broke into multiple businesses across Greater Victoria, including the same technology company on Head Street in Esquimalt – twice – was arrested by officers. ​​

Following the break and enter investigations, staff with our Analysis and Intelligence Section (AIS) liaised with partners in the region and discovered potential links to number of similar break and enters. They identified a suspect and worked to locate him.

The suspect was located at a unit in a multi-unit residential supportive housing building in the 700-block of Queens Avenue. Officers obtained a search warrant for the unit and executed it on Friday, March 3, 2023. During the search, officers located property linking the suspect back to multiple break and enter investigations, and the suspect, hiding under a mattress. He was arrested and transported to VicPD cells. The value of the recovered stolen property is in excess of $11,000.

Upon confirming his identity, officers determined the suspect to be in multiple breaches of court-ordered conditions related to previous convictions.

The man faces 23 recommended charges.

Crimes against person files include:

23-8212 | Homicide Suspect Arrested

 On March 6, Patrol officers responded to a report of an assault at a residence in the 400-block of Chester Avenue. Attending officers found a 70-year-old man suffering from life-threatening injuries. The man was transported to hospital by BC Emergency Health Services (BCEHS).

While inside the residence, officers noted some potentially hazardous materials. Out of an abundance of caution, officers requested that the RCMP’s Clandestine Lab Enforcement And Response team (CLEAR) attend to ensure the residence was safe. A safety perimeter was established and roads in the area were closed to traffic. The CLEAR team attended and conducted testing to determine that it was safe to enter the building.

The suspect was arrested after attending a neighbouring police department. Unfortunately, the victim succumbed to his injuries. Detectives arrested the suspect for murder. He remains in custody.  

23-5066 | GIS Officers Arrest High-Risk Offender Outside Middle School

GIS officers located a high-risk offender vehicle outside a middle school, despite being subject to an undertaking prohibiting them from being in areas where children may be present. The same offender faces charges for an alleged indecent act at an Esquimalt recreational facility. They were also located outside a community centre playground in Vic West and arrested for a second breach of the same conditions. 

23-8086, 23-8407, 23-8437, 22-43510 | Suspect in Arson Series Arrested

Officers have arrested a person who is suspected of having caused a number of arsons after observing the person conduct an arson early this morning.

At approximately 1:50 am today, officers were conducting surveillance in the 2900-block of Cedar Hill Road when they observed an arson suspect enter a BC Transit bus shelter. Flames were observed coming from the shelter and the suspect exited the shelter and left the area on foot. Officers with the team extinguished the flames and took the suspect into custody. The suspect was later tied to three other arson files and released on court-ordered conditions pending trial. They were later again arrested after violating these conditions. 

23-11588, 23-5628, 23-1197, 23-9795 | Officers respond to random assaults and stabbings. 

Throughout Q1 Patrol and GIS officers as well as Major Crime Unit (MCU) detectives all responded to calls for assaults, stabbings, assaults with weapons and knifepoint robberies. Many of these incidents occurred in Victoria’s downtown core and many of them were random; involving people unknown to each other. Multiple victims were transported to hospital with injuries ranging from significant head and facial injuries to potentially life-threatening stab wounds to broken bones. Where possible, officers relied on information from the public, victims, CCTV and partners, resulting in many arrests and the recommendation of charges. Many of these files remain under investigation or are now before the courts.

Crime prevention initiatives this quarter included a public information campaign reaching out to young men who are seeing a significant increase in being targeted for sextortion.

VicPD volunteers also participated in numerous Speed Watch deployments – seen here doing cell watch in partnership with ICBC on St Patrick’s Day.

VicPD officers and staff continued to participate in extensive community engagement, part of numerous events in a variety of roles. Chief Manak participated in just over 50 events, ranging attending the Black History Month Symposium, to dancing at the Greater Victoria Police Diversity Advisory Committee Dance Party, to running in both the Wounded Warrior Run and the Michael Dunahee Keep the Hope Alive run. He was joined by VicPD officers and staff at many of these events. ​

​Community Engagement Highlights:​

Polar Plunge​

Of course, in the Q4 report, we highlighted our participation in the Special Olympics Polar Plunge where our VicPD Polar Plunge team raised an incredible $24,000 of the $50,000 total. We were also the largest team with 25 plungers!​

In February, we also held a “real or replica” firearms event. A VicPD firearms trainer and expert, along with Community Engagement Division staff, hosted a unique, hands-on event with local media to underscore the similarities in real and replica firearms seized by VicPD officers. ​

In March, officers and staff were key to the success of the Greater Victoria Police Camp event, which brought together young people and officers and staff from across Greater Victoria to learn fundamentals of teamwork, problem-solving and leadership. ​

We also welcomed newcomers to our Crime Watch and Front Desk volunteer groups. I continue to be impressed by the talent and skills and deep diversity that this already inclusive group bring as they give back to our community while representing VicPD. ​

VicPD continues to support public-initiated awareness campaigns, like sharing Pink Shirt Day’s anti-bullying message and celebrating women throughout the department on International Women’s Day. ​

Our Athletic Association also hosted a series of tournaments to help engage youth in sports.​

The Community Engagment Division has started to help Victoria Meet Your VicPD. These posts introduce officers, civilian staff and volunteers to the community we serve. Each profile shares a bit about the profiled person’s life, highlights their unique attributes and helps our the connections between our people and our communities grow a little bit closer. 

Current focus

Our current focus in Victoria is Project Downtown Connect. VicPD’s Community Services and Patrol Divisions began Project Downtown Connect, a six-week initiative to connect with local businesses and increase visible presence in the downtown area.

Since the start of the project, officers have been visiting local businesses and listening to their concerns, including the impact that retail theft, property crime and street disorder has on their business operations. They have also been providing tips on keeping their businesses safe.

Project Downtown Connect builds on the successful Downtown Connect and Holiday Connect series which began in late 2019. These projects were created in response to concerns from businesses about retail theft, mischief, and aggressive behaviour in the downtown core. 

Project Downtown Connect has officers out on foot engaging with businesses seven days a week until June 30.

At the end of the first quarter we are 1.8 per cent over the budget approved by councils, driven in part by non-controllable expenditures subject to budget cuts such as professional services, building maintenance and retirement expenditures. Additionally, expenditures are over budget for protective clothing and training, but under in equipment, communications and general operating expenditures. Wages and overtime are within budget as we prioritize resourcing of the front line and implement a pilot project to streamline our operational resources.