Township of Esquimalt: 2023 – Q2

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 Esquimalt and one for Victoria), 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.

Esquimalt Community Information

Operations continue to run smoothly in Esquimalt Division, with officers responding to fewer calls than the same period last year, but an increase in calls for service over Q1.

One significant event was File: 23-15904, where a male suspect attended a government office in the 1100-block of Esquimalt Rd, armed with a sledgehammer.

As the suspect began smashing his way into the secure area of the facility, he was challenged by two uniformed members who, fortunately, were already inside of the building following up on information about the same suspect for ‘uttering threats’. 

The members eventually took the suspect into custody. This was a traumatic event, particularly for the staff at the government office.

VicPD’s Esquimalt Division has provided extensive follow-up care with staff, including a CPTED assessment and creating a lockdown safety plan.

Other Files of note:

Assault with Weapon

File: 23-15205

Officers responded to a call for numerous people being bear-sprayed in Macauley Park.​

The attack on the government building in May underscored the need for security plans for key infrastructure and vulnerable businesses. VicPD’s Esquimalt Division has been working with partners and stakeholders to conduct additional CPTED and Lockdown assessments, with detailed safety recommendations, which is a key crime prevention strategy.

Our VicPD volunteers continue to dedicate 30% of their time to Esquimalt, which this Quarter included an increase in patrols through parks.

We also conducted Reserve training during this Quarter, with 12 new Reserve Constables graduating from the program, bringing us up to our full complement of 70 Reserve Constables.

Community Engagement is a key aspect of policing in Esquimalt and each quarter is filled with events and initiatives.

The 2023 Community Survey was distributed in March, with results presented in Q2. Overall, there was little change throughout the survey, which speaks to the validity of the method, with some notable highlights, which can be viewed in our Community Survey Deep Dives release series. A few highlights for Esquimalt include the lowest rates of respondents reporting feeling safe in downtown Victoria or Esquimalt Plaza since 2020, and an increase in desire for VicPD to pay closer attention to traffic offences, homelessness and drug possession and use. We are proud to say that VicPD continues to enjoy an 85% overall satisfaction rate from the residents of Esquimalt, and that 96% of residents agree that police and citizens, working together, can help make this a better place to live and work. The full results of the survey, with results specific to Esquimalt, can be found on our Open VicPD portal.

Q2 marks the beginning of community events in the Township and VicPD staff and volunteers were busy at festivals, parades and fundraisers.

April 9 – Easter Eggstravaganza

Chief Manak and Insp. Brown attended a family Easter event at Gorge Kinsmen Park.

April 16 – HMCS Esquimalt Memorial

Insp. Brown attended a ceremony at Memorial Park to honour the service of those who lost their lives in the sinking of the HMCS Esquimalt in the Second World War.

April 30 – Vaisakhi

VicPD supported Vaisakhi and the Khalsa Day parade with many officers and volunteers both in the parade and throughout the event.

May 12-14 – Buccaneer Weekend

Insp. Brown and a number of VicPD reserves & volunteers participated in the Buccaneer Day Parade.  This was a great community event with an outstanding turnout by our local community members and families.

May 27 – Fort Macaulay Tour

Insp. Brown attended a tour of Fort Macaulay.  It was a beautiful day and a great opportunity to connect with community and friends.

May 31 – SD61 Springboards Program

SD61 students participated in the Springboards program, which gave them insight into various aspects of policing.

June – HarbourCats

VicPD continues to enjoy a partnership with the Victoria HarbourCats and supported the home opener by handing out tickets to residents in Victoria and Esquimalt, and attending the June 30 tribute game with GVERT and the Integrated Canine Service demonstrations. VicPD also hosted members of the Indigenous street family with the Aboriginal Coalition to End Homelessness at a ‘Cats game.

June 3, 2023 – Block Party

Deputy Chief Watson, members of Patrol Division, and VicPD volunteers attended the Esquimalt Block Party.  It was a fantastic event and a great opportunity to interact and spend time with our local residents and families.

June – NHL Street

VicPD partnered with the Victoria Royals and, with the support of the Victoria City Police Athletic Association, launched NHL Street. This low-fee program allowed youth ages 6-16 to gather once per week for an exciting round of ball hockey, wearing NHL team-branded jerseys. It was a great opportunity for our officers and Reserves to support and engage with youth in our communities.

June – Pride

VicPD raised the Pride flag at our Caledonia headquarters for the first time, and participated in the Pride Parade through the Greater Victoria Police Diversity Advisory Committee (GVPDAC).

June – VicPD Community Rover

We closed the quarter by revealing the VicPD Community Rover – a vehicle on loan from Civil Forfeiture that allows us to better engage the public about our programs, values and recruiting efforts.

At the end of Q2, our net operating financial position was slightly below budget at 48.7% of the budget approved by councils and 47.3% of the budget approved by the Police Board.  

There is a net difference of $1.99 million between the budget approved by councils and that of the Board. Although we are still below budget, some caution should be applied as we incur higher expenditures during the summer months. The downtown becomes busier and staff take scheduled leave over the summer months that requires us to backfill front line positions. Additionally, a new parental leave program is expected to have an impact on overtime for the front line over the summer months. Capital expenditures are in line with the budget at this time.