City of Victoria: 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 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

Operational Update 

Although the calls for service declined in Q2 over Q1, Patrol officers continued to respond to numerous calls for violence in the downtown core and calls that require significant resources. Of note were a violent daytime robbery of a jewelry store, and an assault on police officers outside a nightclub. In many cases, VicPD has been able to quickly apprehend the suspects and make arrests following a call for service. 

Following a lengthy and thorough investigation, Major Crimes investigators arrested a man for an arson to a family home that occurred in April 2022. 

Community Services Division, with the support of Patrol members, focused on Project Downtown Connect during Q2. This project was initiated in response to downtown businesses reporting an increase in street disorder and criminal acts such as thefts and mischiefs. The goal of the project was to increase the police presence downtown while connecting with as many businesses as possible. In addition, as members attended businesses, they discussed any ongoing concerns and issues, provided staff with a VicPD information card, and obtained updated contact information for the businesses. 

Files of Note

Files: 22-14561, 22-14619 Major Crime Detectives Arrest Man For Arson
Following a lengthy and thorough investigation, Major Crimes investigators arrested a man for an arson to a family home that occurred in April 2022.  

File: 23-18462 Downtown Assault and Mischief
Shortly after 8 a.m. on May 24, officers responded to a report of a disturbance in the 1200-block of Douglas Street. Officers determined that the suspect had assaulted a passerby and smashed the window of a vehicle that was stopped in traffic.  

The suspect was arrested at the scene and held for court. The victim was transported to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. 

File: 23-12279 Recreation Centre Thefts
On April 5, 2023, VicPD received a report of a theft from a recreation centre in the 500-block of Fraser Street. The victim reported that their wallet had been stolen and credit cards used at various retail outlets in the Greater Victoria area. Later that day, another individual reported their wallet and credit card were also stolen from the same location.  

Investigators determined that several purchases were made in quick succession using the stolen credit cards. Investigators obtained CCTV footage of the suspects as they used the stolen credit cards. 

File: 23-13520 Armed Robbery at Downtown Jewelry Store 
Patrol officers were called to a jewelry store just before 3:45 pm on Saturday, April 15. Staff told officers that a man had entered the store brandishing a hammer. He was confronted by staff but pushed his way behind the counters. He was able to open two of the display cases with the hammer, stealing merchandise from one of them, despite staff members’ attempts to intervene. The suspect smashed another display case and stole an expensive watch before being pushed outside by staff. The suspect fled before the responding officers arrived. 

File: 23-12462 Officers Assaulted
On April 7 at approximately 1:20 a.m., officers were called to the 800-block of Yates Street for a report of an intoxicated patron refusing to leave the establishment. While escorting the patron outside, two officers were assaulted by the patron and another individual, and one of the officers was disarmed. The second person was known to the patron and had also been asked to leave the nightclub earlier. 

File: 23-7127 Investigators Seize Over Half A Million Dollars in Contraband Cigarettes and Cash 

In February, officers with the General Investigation Section (GIS) began an investigation into the sale of contraband tobacco in the Greater Victoria area.  

The investigation led officers to a storage locker in View Royal and a residence in the 2400-block of Chambers Street in Victoria. On April 12, investigators executed search warrants at both locations and seized over 2,000 cartons of contraband cigarettes and $65,000 in Canadian currency. The value of the seized cigarettes is approximately $450,000.

VicPD Crime Watch volunteers assisted in raising awareness of the new speed limits on many roads as the City of Victoria implemented their new, reduced speed limit plan.  

We recognized Prevention of Violence Against Women Week in April, and shared information on fraud prevention on our social media channels. 

VicPD 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 core function of policing in Victoria. Chief Del Manak participated in at least 27 events and activities, with VicPD staff and volunteers active throughout the city in many ways, from festivals to schools. 

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. VicPD continues to enjoy the confidence of the residents of Victoria and Esquimalt with an 82% overall satisfaction rating. 

On April 30, VicPD supported Vaisakhi and the Khalsa Day parade with many officers and volunteers both in the parade and throughout the event. 

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

In May, VicPD participated in and supported the Victoria Day Parade with many officers and volunteers. We also had the VicPD Canoe in the parade for the first time this year. 

In June, 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. 

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.

Q2 marks the beginning of community events in the city, and VicPD staff and volunteers were busy throughout the city at festivals, parades and fundraisers, including our first time with a booth at the Highland Games.   

We closed the quarter by raising the Pride Flag at our Caledonia headquarters, and with the reveal of our new 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.

The Rover has been popular at events since its first appearance at a HarbourCats game on June 30, which featured a tribute to VicPD following the one-year anniversary of the BMO shooting. 

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.