2021-Q1

These indicators, when used over time, provide some context to the degree that police services are effective at reducing criminal victimization and improving public safety and the feeling of safety in the community. These performance metrics partially reflect the outcomes and quality of police performance keeping in mind that there are various influences on crime and order beyond policing.

Indicator

Chart Data (Esquimalt & Victoria)

Calls for Service (Esquimalt & Victoria)

A Call for Service (CFS) is a request for services from or report to the police department that generates any action on the part of the police department or partner agency performing work on behalf of the police department (such as E-Comm 9-1-1).

A CFS includes recording a crime/incident for reporting purposes. CFS is not generated for proactive activities unless the officer generates a specific CFS report.

The types of calls for service are broken into six main categories as follows:

  • Social order – call types include disturbance, man down, unwanted person, etc.
  • Violence – call types include assault, sexual assault, robbery, etc.
  • Property – call types include break and enters, theft from vehicles, theft of vehicles, etc.
  • Traffic – call types include collision response, impaired driving and other traffic offences.
  • Assist – call types include requests to assist BC Emergency Health Services paramedics, Parole, other police departments, etc.
  • Other – calls are those which do not fit into the categories above.

Annual trends show a decrease in total calls for service in 2019 and 2020. Since January 2019, abandoned calls, which are included in the total number of calls and can often generate a police response, are no longer captured by the E-Comm 911/Police Dispatch Centre in the same way. This has significantly reduced the total number of calls.  Also, policy changes with regard to abandoned 911 calls from cell phones occurred in July 2019, further reducing these call totals.  Additional factors that have reduced the number of 911 calls include increased education and changes to cell phone design so that emergency calls could no longer be activated by a one-button push.

These important changes are reflected in the following abandoned 911 call figures, which are included in the displayed calls for service totals and are largely responsible for the recent decrease in total calls for service:

2016 = 8,409
2017 = 7,576
2018 = 8,554
2019 = 4,411
2020 = 1,296

Calls for Service - Quarterly

Source: VicPD

Calls for Service - Annually

Source: VicPD

Esquimalt Calls for Service - By Category, Quarterly

Source: VicPD

Esquimalt Calls for Service - By Category, Annually

Source: VicPD

Victoria Calls for Service - By Category, Quarterly

Source: VicPD

Victoria Calls for Service - By Category, Annually

Source: VicPD

Crime Rate - VicPD Jurisdiction

The crime rate, as published by Statistics Canada, is the number of Criminal Code violations (excluding traffic offences) per 100,000 population.

  • Total Crime (excluding traffic)
  • Violent Crime
  • Property Crime
  • Other Crime

Data Updated | Statistics Canada updates their data from time to time as new information becomes available. On October 30, 2020 we updated 2018 and 2019 numbers on this page to reflect the latest data update from Statistics Canada. Data for 2020 will be updated when data released by Statistics Canada.

Crime Rate - Compared to BC Average

Source: VicPD

Crime Rate - VicPD Jurisdiction

Source: Statistics Canada (data is the most recent available)

Crime Severity Index - VicPD Jurisdiction

The crime severity index, as published by Statistics Canada, measures changes in the level of severity of crime in Canada from year to year. In the index, all crimes are assigned a weight based on their seriousness. The level of seriousness is based on actual sentences handed down by the courts in all provinces and territories. These charts show the crime severity index for VicPD’s jurisdiction of Victoria and Esquimalt, along with a comparison to the provincial average

Crime Severity Index (CSI) by municipality will be reported when available from Statistics Canada.

Data for 2020 will be updated when released by Statistic Canada.

Crime Severity Index - VicPD Jurisdiction

Source: Statistics Canada (data is the most recent available)

Crime Incidents - VicPD Jurisdiction

Number of Crime Incidents (VicPD Jurisdiction)

  • Violent Crime Incidents
  • Property Crime Incidents
  • Other Crime Incidents

Data for 2020 will be updated when released by Statistics Canada

Crime Incidents - VicPD Jurisdiction

Source: Statistics Canada (data is the most recent available)

Weighted Clearance Rate (VicPD Jurisdiction)

  • Total Clearance Rate
  • Violent Clearance Rate
  • Non-Violent Clearance Rate

Clearance rates indicate the extent to which investigation into criminal offences resulted in an identified subject that may or may not have resulted in a charge.  Weighted Clearance Rates are a calculation that places more emphasis on solving more serious crime. The Weighted Clearance Rate value permits monitoring of changes over time.

Data for 2020 will be updated when released by Statistics Canada.

Weighted Clearance Rate (VicPD Jurisdiction)

Source: Statistics Canada (data is the most recent available)

Perception of Crime (Esquimalt / Victoria)

Community and business survey data from 2021 as well as past community surveys: “Do you think that crime in Victoria and/or Esquimalt has increased, decreased or remained the same during the last 5 years?”.

Perception of Crime-Esquimalt

Source: VicPD

Perception of Crime-Victoria

Source: VicPD

Block Watch (Esquimalt / Victoria)

Block Watch Participation

  • Number of active blocks

Block Watch (Esquimalt / Victoria)

Source: VicPD

Public Satisfaction (Esquimalt / Victoria)

Public satisfaction with VicPD (community and business survey data from 2021 as well as past community surveys): “Overall, how satisfied are you with the work of the Victoria Police?.”

• Victoria City
• Esquimalt Township

Public Satisfaction-Esquimalt

Source: VicPD

Public Satisfaction-Victoria

Source: VicPD

Perception of Accountability (Esquimalt / Victoria)

Perception of accountability of VicPD officers from community and business survey data from 2021 as well as past community surveys: “Based on your own personal experience, or what you may have read or heard, please indicate whether you agree or disagree that the Victoria Police is accountable.”

• Victoria City
• Esquimalt Township

Perception of Accountability-Esquimalt

Source: VicPD

Perception of Accountability-Victoria

Source: VicPD

Documents Released to the Public

These charts show the number of community updates (news releases) and reports published, as well the number of Freedom of Information (FOI) requests that are released.

Documents Released to the Public

Source: VicPD

FOI Documents Released

Source: VicPD

Overtime Costs (VicPD)

  • Investigation and Specialized Units (This includes investigations, specialized units, protests and other)
  • Staff Shortage (Cost associated with replacing absent staff, normally for last minute injury or illness)
  • Statutory Holiday (Mandatory overtime costs for staff working Statutory Holidays)
  • Recovered (This is related to special duties and overtime for seconded specialty units where all costs are recovered from outside funding resulting in no additional cost to VicPD)

Overtime Costs (VicPD)-in dollars ($)

Source: VicPD

Public Safety Campaigns (VicPD)

The number of public safety campaigns initiated by VicPD and those local, regional, or national campaigns supported by, but not necessarily initiated by VicPD.

Public Safety Campaigns (VicPD)

Source: VicPD

Police Act Complaints (VicPD)

Total files opened by the Professional Standards office. Open files do not necessarily result in an investigation of any type. (Source: Office of the Police Complaints Commissioner)

  • Admissible registered complaints (complaints resulting in a formal Police Act investigation)
  • Number of reported substantiated investigations (Police Act investigations that resulted in one or more counts of misconduct being established)

Police Act Complaints (VicPD)

Source: Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner of BC
NOTE: Dates below are provincial government fiscal year (April 1 to March 31) i.e. "2019" indicates April 1, 2019 to March 31, 2020.

Case Load per Officer (VicPD)

The average number of criminal files assigned to each officer.  The average is calculated by dividing the total number of files by the authorized strength of the police Department (Source: Police Resources in BC, Province of British Columbia).

Data for 2020 will updated when released by Statistics Canada.

Case Load per Officer (VicPD)

Source: Police Resources in BC

Time Loss in Shifts (VicPD)

VicPD’s operational effectiveness can be, and has been, affected by having employees unable to work. The loss of time recorded in this chart includes both physical and mental health injuries which occur in the workplace. This does not include time lost for off-duty injury or illness, parental leave, or leaves of absence. This chart shows this time loss in terms of shifts lost by both officers and civilian employees by calendar year.

Time Loss in Shifts (VicPD)

Source: VicPD

Deployable Officers (% of total strength)

This is the percentage of officers who are fully deployable to policing duties with no restrictions.

Please note: This is a Point-in-Time calculation each year, as the actual number fluctuates widely throughout the year.

Deployable Officers (% of total strength)

Source: VicPD

Volunteer / Reserve Constable Hours (VicPD)

This is the number of volunteer hours annually performed by volunteers and Reserve Constables.

Volunteer / Reserve Constable Hours (VicPD)

Source: VicPD

Response Time (Esquimalt / Victoria)

Response Times for Priority One and Two Calls

Time received to time on scene of the first officer

• Total (VicPD's total service area)
• Victoria Division
• Esquimalt Division

Average response time is the mean (average) off all responses under each priority.  Since the average is calculated by adding up all response times and dividing by the number of responses, the calculation of average response times can be influenced by outliers - unusually quick to very long response times.  Median response time is the middle response time on the list of all response times from lowest to highest.  Reading the two measures together permits a better assessment of the overall central tendency in the data set.

Response Time-Esquimalt

Source: VicPD
NOTE: Times are displayed in minutes and second. For example, "8.48" indicates 8 minutes and 48 seconds.

Response Time-Victoria

Source: VicPD
NOTE: Times are displayed in minutes and second. For example, "8.48" indicates 8 minutes and 48 seconds.

Training Hours per Officer (VicPD)

Average training hours is calculated by the total number of hours of training divided by the authorized strength.  All training is accounted for including training related to specialized positions such as the Emergency Response Team, and off-duty training required under the Collective Agreement.

Training Hours per Officer (VicPD)

Source: VicPD

VicPD Community Information

Esquimalt

Sexual Assault

On January 13, a victim’s family contacted police to report that a teen had disclosed that she had been sexually assaulted by a man in December. The victim reported that at approximately 4 p.m. on December 4, 2020, she departed a bus in the 1100-block of Esquimalt Road when she was approached by a man who followed her off the bus. The man sexually assaulted the teen, who was able to break free and flee. She was not physically injured. Despite a media release distributed to the public for witnesses, no witnesses have yet been identified.

Hate Graffiti

Shortly after 2 p.m. on Sunday, February 28, Esquimalt Division Patrol officers were called to Lions Park in the 800-block of Lampson Street for a report of hate graffiti found painted on the dugout in the ballpark. The hate graffiti included white supremacist content. The white supremacist content has since been covered by paint. This file was reviewed by the Hate Crimes Detective; however, at this point, all avenues for identifying a suspect have been exhausted.

Suspicious Person

On March 28, officers were called to the area of Barnard Park and the West Bay walking path to speak with a woman who called 911 after being chased by an unknown man.  Officers determined that the man was likely still in the area and was able to locate him at a nearby marine. The man identified himself and admitted to the earlier incident, apologizing for scaring the woman. The same day, two other files were generated by the same man where he was in residential backyards throwing items at windows on Lampson Street. In total, this man generated eight calls over three days in March. On the third day, the officer was able to provide the man transport to Open Door, as he requested food and shelter.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, we can see its ongoing impact on calls for service trends as the disruption to the normal way of life enters its second year.

Renewed work from home directives and business closures has resulted in people spending more time in their residences and neighbourhoods. This contributed to another sharp decline in property crimes in Q1 associated to residential break and enters and shoplifting.

Conversely, crimes against persons trended upward, driven in part by an increase in domestic dispute and intimate partner violence calls.

Public order calls related to alcohol use and disturbances declined whereas calls concerning bylaw violations increased largely due to people in parks and outdoor spaces.

Warrant Enforcement Project

On Wednesday, January 27, Patrol and Community Services Division (CSD) officers teamed up to locate and arrest individuals wanted on warrants in Victoria and Esquimalt. The day-long project led to the arrests of 23 men and women who were wanted for a variety of offences, some of which included: mischief, driving while prohibited, breach of probation, break and enter, assault, and sexual interference involving a youth.

Two significant arrests marked the beginning of the warrant enforcement project, after a member of the public alerted officers to the location federal offenders who were both wanted Canada-wide. Officers located and arrested the wanted men near Pandora Avenue and Vancouver Street without incident.

Housing Action Response Team (HART)

Throughout this quarter, Esquimalt Community Resource Officers (CROs) met with members of the Housing Action Response Team (TEAM) to identify persons in need of homes using their area knowledge of Esquimalt. Once identified, HART steps in to provide individuals with assistance in getting housed.

HART is based on a ‘Navigation Team’ model as seen in Seattle, Washington. The team uses a collaborative, innovative, integrated, citizen-centered, partnership-based outreach approach to ensuring that those most at risk in our community are helped and supported.

Birthday Drive-By

On February 9, members of the Esquimalt Division and the Integrated Canine Unit conducted a birthday drive-by for Angus and Axel who turned four-years old. In addition to seeing the police vehicles and the K9, they were thrilled to have their photo taken with some of the attending members.

Esquimalt Graving Dock Tour

On February 10, Inspector Brown and Community Resource Officers (CROs) attended the Esquimalt Graving Dock for a tour.

Esquimalt Lions – Smile For A Child

On March 26, VicPD presented the Esquimalt Lions with a large box of toys, cash, and gift cards that were donated by police, fire, community businesses, and private citizens in support of Smile for A Child. All donations go to the Victoria General Hospital Pediatrics Ward.

Open VicPD Dashboard

This quarter saw the wrap-up of a seventeen-week engagement campaign by the Public Affairs (PA) team to share information about the Open VicPD dashboard. The campaign featured each of the 15 VicPD Community Dashboard measures and the results from our 2020 Community Survey.  Sharing this data and how we use it is part of our ongoing effort to be as transparent and accountable as possible. The 2021 engagements included topics such as the number of deployable officers, response times, and the complaints process.

VicPD supported the Moose Hide Campaign to support this important community initiative and end violence against women.

Throughout the quarter, the Public Affairs (PA) team continued to share information about missing and wanted persons, significant police files, and incidents with information on how the public can keep themselves safe.

Patrol conducted distracted driving enforcement in January and PA shared the results on social media, reminding drivers to stay off their devices, keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel. In one day of enforcement, Patrol issued 15 distracted driving tickets.

The PA team shared information about a sexual assault of an Esquimalt teen after she departed a city bus and shared a number of media releases and information about ongoing cybercrime in Victoria and Esquimalt. Throughout the quarter we shared tips on how to protect yourself from cybercrime and how to increase your personal cybersecurity. Notably, spear phishing attacks were on the rise, where criminals attempt to redirect or fraudulently initiate payments that would otherwise be legitimate.

When snow fell on Victoria and Esquimalt we reminded the public about road safety and encouraged essential travel only. We shared information on cold weather shelter options and where people could access supports, and we thanked the passerby who lent a hand to get Patrol officers out of a “snow jam”.

We also shared information and a warning on a rise in business break and enters in Victoria and Esquimalt through December of 2020 and into January of 2021.

In March, an age enhanced photo of Michael Dunahee was released. Michael Dunahee was four years old at the time of his disappearance on March 24, 1991. The age-enhanced sketch was prepared by a BC RCMP forensic sketch artist and is based on extensive work with the Dunahee family and investigators. The sketch brings together family history, forensic science and artistic skill, and shows what Michael may look like today at age thirty-four.

A video featuring the sketch, the sketch artist, Crystal and Bruce Dunahee, and Chief Del Manak was released on March 24.

VicPD continues to partner with agencies including the Canadian Centre for Child Protection in the search for Michael and to help protect children everywhere. The investigation into Michael Dunahee’s disappearance remains one of the largest missing person investigations in Canada. To help gather information, a new Michael Dunahee online tip portal has been launched at vicpd.ca/michaeldunaheetips.

Victoria

Harbour Ferry Theft and Glass Smash Spree

At approximately 3 a.m. on January 19, Patrol officers were called to the waters off the 400-block of Swift Street for a report that a man had stolen a Harbour Ferry water taxi from the dock and was travelling up the Gorge Waterway.

Officers attended as the stolen Harbour Ferry water taxi changed direction toward the Inner Harbour and appeared to be attempting to flee the area. With the assistance of a nearby Harbour Ferry supervisor of maintenance, officers boarded a separate boat and pursued the stolen Harbour Ferry water taxi. In addition, the Canadian Coast Guard vessel Cape St. James attended, took VicPD officers on board, and worked to resolve the incident.

The officers on the boat with the Harbour Ferry staff member were able to close the distance with the stolen boat. They spoke with the suspect and convinced him to surrender. The officers towed the stolen Harbour Ferry water taxi and the suspect to a dock in the 900-block of Wharf Street where they arrested the suspect without further incident.

The following day, the same man was suspected of causing damage to several Victoria businesses. Officers identified 14 locations that the suspect damaged.

Reports of Sexualized Violence Associated to Downtown Victoria Bar and Grill

On Sunday, January 31, VicPD officers and staff were first alerted to a series of posts on a social network which contained reports of sexualized violence involving an employee of a downtown Victoria bar and grill. VicPD reached out to the operators of the social network page and invited those with information to come forward.

On Monday, February 1, VicPD issued a Community Update, which was posted to our social media channels, and shared with media and community partners, inviting anyone who wished to make a report or who had information about the reports to come forward. Those with information were invited to report through whichever form felt safe to them, whether through the non-emergency line Report Desk, or through the Victoria Sexual Assault Centre or other means. Numerous people came forward with information.

“We have had many people come forward with information, “SVU Detective Sgt. Jan Malinosky said. “Our Investigative Services Division team is working through this information and are connecting with these people to gather more details. This process takes time and we’re asking for patience moving forward. We are here to listen and are hoping to connect with more survivors.”

This investigation is active and ongoing. Updates will be shared as we are able.

Beacon Hill Park Homicide

Shortly after 6 a.m. on Wednesday, March 3, VicPD Patrol officers were called to the south side of Beacon Hill Park, along Dallas Road, for a report of an unresponsive woman. Officers attended, along with BC Emergency Health Services paramedics, and despite providing CPR to the woman, she was confirmed to be deceased. The BC Coroners Service attended and assisted with the investigation.

VicPD’s Major Crime Unit continued the investigation until the woman’s death was determined to be a homicide in early March, at which time the Vancouver Island Integrated Major Crime Unit (VIIMCU) was notified. On March 24, VIIMCU investigators, with the assistance of Oak Bay Police, Saanich Police, the Greater Victoria Emergency Response Team, and VicPD, conducted additional investigative steps in the area of Fort Street and Foul Bay Road. The investigation remains ongoing.

Drug Traffickers Targeting Shelters

On March 11, Strike Force and the Greater Victoria Emergency Response Team (GVERT) officers executed a search warrant at a residence in the 4000-block of Orion Place in Saanich, B.C. and on three vehicles. During the search, Strike Force officers located cash as well as amounts of fentanyl and cocaine consistent with drug trafficking.

The arrests come after a month-long investigation which involved investigative techniques and surveillance which tracked the men as they allegedly sold drugs to some of the most marginalized members of our communities at multi-unit residential temporary housing facilities and shelters in VicPD’s jurisdiction.

These arrests come in the midst of the ongoing opioid overdose epidemic in which drugs like fentanyl have killed thousands of British Columbians.

The two men face recommended charges related to drug trafficking.

Armed Man Injured in Officer-Involved Shooting

Shortly before 5:30 a.m. on March 15, Patrol officers were at the Royal Jubilee Hospital for an unrelated call for service when they were alerted to a man at the hospital with a weapon. Officers encountered the man with a weapon and deployed a less-lethal conductive energy weapon. In the course of the incident an officer shot the man.

This file is currently under investigation by VicPD’s Major Crime Unit (MCU). The Independent Investigations Office is investigating the officer-involved shooting.

Women Arrested with Firearm, Loaded Magazine

Shortly after 5:30 a.m. on March 17, Patrol officers were in a parking lot of a multi-unit temporary housing facility in the 100-block of Gorge Road East. They observed a woman wanted on a warrant for failing to attend court in relation to a previous drug trafficking and weapons possession investigation.

Officers arrested the woman a short distance away and searched her following the arrest. They located a heavily modified, assault-style .22 calibre rifle and a magazine loaded with twenty rounds, as well as ammunition for other firearms. A photograph of the weapon and ammunition is below.

The woman was transported to VicPD cells where she was held to await court. The woman faces several firearms-related recommended charges including carrying a concealed weapon, unauthorized possession of a firearm, and possession of a prohibited firearm. This file remains under investigation.

Patrol Officers, Suspect Injured In Arrest

Shortly after 10 a.m. on Monday, March 29, Patrol officers were called to the area of Quadra and Courtney streets for a report of a man breaking into parking meters and parking pay stations. Officers attended and located the suspect, who fled from the officers on foot. The officers caught up to the man near Quadra and Broughton streets, and attempted to take the man into custody. The man refused officers’ verbal commands and then began to fight with them. Officers deployed a conductive energy weapon and oleoresin capsicum spray, but both were ineffective. An ICS K9 team, including PSD Zender, was deployed and assisted in taking the suspect into custody.

The suspect was treated at the scene for non-life-threatening injuries. The suspect, a Vancouver man, has been the subject of nine additional police calls in the previous three days. He was transported to hospital for a mental health assessment and held there under the Mental Health Act. In addition, he faces recommended charges of resisting arrest. Two officers suffered non-life-threatening injuries in the incident but were able to complete their shifts.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, we can see its on-going impact on calls for service trends as the disruption to the normal way of life enters its second year.

Break and enters, thefts and shoplifting calls trended downward, though store owners reported a reluctance to call police for shoplifting events unless there was a measure of intimidation or violence.

Mischief calls trended upward driven by damage in parks, outdoor spaces and graffiti.

There was a modest decrease in crimes against persons calls, though domestic dispute and intimate partner violence calls trended upward.

A sharp increase in sexual assault calls occurred, attributable to one high-profile case.

Overall, social order calls increased, however there was a reduction in calls associated to unwanted individuals, public intoxication and violence, while By-law calls and calls associated to outdoor sheltering increased.

Lastly, drug overdose calls increased moderately and mental health calls increased significantly.

Warrant Enforcement Project

On Wednesday, January 27, Patrol and Community Services Division (CSD) officers teamed up to focus on locating and arresting individuals wanted on warrants in Victoria and Esquimalt. The day-long project led to the arrests of 23 men and women who were wanted for a variety of offences, some of which included: mischief, driving while prohibited, breach of probation, break and enter, assault, and sexual interference involving a youth.

Two significant arrests marked the beginning of the warrant enforcement project, after a member of the public alerted officers to the location of two federal offenders who were both wanted Canada-wide. Officers located and arrested the men near Pandora Avenue and Vancouver Street without incident.

Community Collaboration

This quarter, VicPD’s recruit constables took part in a workshop with the Coalition to End Homelessness, where they learned, collaborated, and listened to stories of lived experience. The workshop focused on ending stigma and encouraging compassion in our community.

VicPD also supported the Moose Hide Campaign to support the important community initiative and end violence against women.

VicPD officers were proud to support the Coldest Night of the year walk and the great work of Our Place Society in our community.

VicPD supported Pink Shirt Day in an effort to end bullying and promote treating everyone with kindness, dignity and respect.

VicPD was proud to celebrate International Women’s Day and recognize women’s achievements and the work that is required to a create a more gender equal world.

Throughout the quarter the Public Affairs (PA) team continued to share information about missing and wanted persons, significant police files, and incidents with information on how the public can keep themselves safe.

In January, the PA team shared information about an ongoing series of break and enters to downtown businesses. The suspect(s) used a sophisticated technique of removing the glass from doors and/or windows. This approach required specialized tools and knowledge and, in some files, had been effective in defeating alarm systems. The PA team shared a variety of tips for how to protect your business including removing valuables, keeping the cash box out of sight, and installing security cameras. The PA team produced a video to discuss some of these tips.

Patrol conducted distracted driving enforcement in January and PA shared the results on social media, reminding drivers to stay off their devices, keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel. In one day of enforcement, Patrol issued 15 distracted driving tickets.

The PA team shared the details of a successful search warrant execution in which a loaded firearm and drugs were seized. A Victoria man and woman were arrested and fentanyl, cash and other drugs, along with a loaded, assault-style rifle seized by officers who executed a search warrant. Patrol officers learned that a man was in possession of a firearm and drugs at a downtown hotel in the 700-block of Burdett Avenue. They applied for a search warrant, and with the assistance of VicPD’s Strike Force and the Greater Victoria Emergency Response Team, executed the warrant. Officers located trafficking amounts of drugs and cash. They also located a loaded, semi-automatic, assault-style rifle with a folding stock. The rifle was located with a round in the chamber and the safety in the “off” position.

The PA team shared a number of media releases and information about ongoing cybercrime in Victoria and Esquimalt. Throughout the quarter we shared tips on how to protect yourself from cybercrime and how to increase your personal cybersecurity. Notably, spear phishing attacks were on the rise, where criminals attempt to redirect or fraudulently initiate payments that would otherwise be legitimate.

We alerted the public to marine marker flares found off the shores of Holland Park. The flares are used in Navy exercises and sometimes make land. We notified to public not to touch these items and to notify police for proper disposal, as they are not safe to handle.

When snow fell on Victoria and Esquimalt we reminded the public about road safety and encourage non-essential travel only. We shared information on cold weather shelter options and where people could access supports, and we thanked the passerby who lent a hand to get Patrol officers out a “snow jam”.

We also shared information and a warning on a rise in business break and enters in Victoria and Esquimalt through December of 2020 and into January of 2021.

In March, an age enhanced photo of Michael Dunahee was released. Michael Dunahee was four years old at the time of his disappearance on March 24, 1991. The age-enhanced sketch was prepared by a BC RCMP forensic sketch artist and is based on extensive work with the Dunahee family and investigators. The sketch brings together family history, forensic science and artistic skill, and shows what Michael may look like today at age thirty-four.

A video featuring the sketch, the sketch artist, Crystal and Bruce Dunahee, and Chief Del Manak was released on March 24.

VicPD continues to partner with agencies including the Canadian Centre for Child Protection in the search for Michael and to help protect children everywhere. The investigation into Michael Dunahee’s disappearance remains one of the largest missing person investigations in Canada. To help gather information, a new Michael Dunahee online tip portal has been launched at vicpd.ca/michaeldunaheetips.

VicPD

VicPD continues to make progress towards our three main strategic goals outlined in Strategic Plan 2020.  Specifically, in Q1, the following goal-specific work was accomplished:

Support Community Safety

  • The Patrol and Community Services Divisions conducted a warrant enforcement project by locating and arresting 23 individuals wanted on warrants in Victoria and Esquimalt for a variety of offences, which included mischief, driving while prohibited, breach of probation, break and enter, assault, and sexual interference involving a youth.
  • VicPD held a major news conference to mark the 30th anniversary of Michael Dunahee’s disappearance. VicPD continues to partner with agencies including the Canadian Centre for Child Protection in the search for Michael and to help protect children everywhere. The investigation into his disappearance remains one of the largest missing person investigations in Canada.
  • The number of volunteer hours for Q1 (for both the Reserve and Volunteer programs) was significantly below the quarterly average as we continue to prioritize volunteer safety by reducing the scope of both programs during the pandemic.

Enhance Public Trust

  • VicPD successfully conducted the 2021 VicPD Community Survey, which is a key engagement process by which VicPD can hear directly from the community about our service delivery. Survey results will be released in Q2.
  • As initiated by the VicPD Diversity, Inclusion, and Respectful Workplace Committee, VicPD embarked on an internal survey to learn more about the diversity of our workforce and volunteers.
  • VicPD had the privilege of nominating Staff Sergeant Jennifer Ames as the new police co-chair of the Greater Victoria Police Diversity Advisory Committee.

Achieve Organizational Excellence

  • The VicPD Human Resource Division continues to explore best practices in human resource management, including employee wellness initiatives, through participation in a regional interagency HR group.
  • The recruitment and training of the inaugural class of four special municipal constables is now complete, which is a major step in this program that is designed to allow police officers to focus on key priorities.
  • Work continues in the process to acquire and implement a Human Resources Information System, which will streamline a variety of key processes across VicPD.

VicPD continues to be challenged by a level of demand for service that is not met by the necessary resources to meet this current nor anticipated future demand.  The discrepancy is made more pronounced by the impact of a high number of police officers that are not deployable, or may be utilized in limited capacities.

The impact of non or limited deployability of a certain number of officers is not unique to VicPD and appears to be what could be considered a new “normal” state of affairs in policing for the foreseeable future.  Notwithstanding, we are working toward having officers return to full duties as soon as possible, and are working internally, and with external resources, to find ways to prevent injury wherever possible.  To be clear, the resource gap currently being experienced is believed to be a contributing factor to injury, particularly psychological injury.

In order to maintain service in front-line policing duties, we are currently running many vacancies in investigative and proactive policing service areas.  Included within these reduced function areas are school liaison, crime reduction, criminal investigations, and others.  Even with these vacancies, we are currently unable to maintain full staffing levels within the Patrol Division resulting is increased workload for staff, impacts to service delivery, and significant overtime costs.

VicPD remains under considerable pressure to not only avoid requesting the necessary resources to meet demand, but to actually reduce costs.  Currently, the only realistic way to substantially reduce costs to both markedly reduce services and reduce staff.  We are concerned about the realistically viability of either.  What is less observable in community is the inadequate resources to perform internal functions within VicPD for things such as records keeping, information requests, human resources support, business analysis, information technology, research and analysis, and other services intended to meet public and legal expectations and/or permit us to identify and implement internal evidence-based efficiencies.

While we consider ways to improve our staffing situation, we are also looking closely on how to reduce demand on our current resources.  We have begun a project focusing on police response to missing persons and how we can work with stakeholders, including government, on adjustments to expectations and standards. Additionally, we have identified mental health as a primary driver behind individuals and locations that attract repeated calls for service to police.  We believe that work needs to be done upstream in order to reduce demand for service to police and other emergency and social services.  We plan to undertake more of this analysis in the coming months.

The Public Affairs (PA) team shared harm prevention messaging throughout the quarter, particularly in relation to Island Health toxic drug advisories.

Throughout the quarter the PA team shared BC Centre for Disease Control (CDC) and Island Health public health messaging surrounding COVID-19 and how to protect yourself. We encouraged the public to follow the advice of the Public Health Officer, and shared files in which enforcement of PHO guidelines took place. This included files such as a maskless passenger assaulting a taxi driver, and a man who refused to wear a mask in a restaurant assaulting staff and biting a patron.

The PA team shared information about updates to the Vic Alert system and how to sign up, stay informed via notifications, and keep yourself safe in the event of an emergency such as a gas leak or tsunami.

Surrounding #BellLet’sTalk day, we shared messaging on mental health resources and how to access supports for mental health.

Beacon Hill Park

In early 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Victoria made amendments to the overnight sheltering bylaws to allow 24/7 sheltering in city parks, including Beacon Hill Park, removing the necessity to collapse and remove a sheltering structure each day at 7 a.m. This location has continued to be the source of a number of police calls for service:

Assault with Weapon

In early January, Patrol officers were flagged down by a couple who reported that they had been assaulted with a weapon by a man in Beacon Hill Park. The couple reported that they had attempted to sit on a bench in the park that was located next to some belongings and were then assaulted by a man who was nearby. Officers located the man and took him into custody without incident. He was transported to cells, where he was processed and released on an undertaking. The couple did not require medical attention. This file remains under investigation.

On February 8, Patrol officers arrested a man late at night after a report of a violent incident in a tent in Beacon Hill Park which included an assault and an assault with a weapon. While investigating this report, officers arrested a second man within the park who was wanted on an unrelated warrant for breach of probation in relation to a robbery file from Port Alberni.

On March 15, a man, wanted on several warrants in Alberta and, sheltering in Beacon Hill Park was apprehended after officers learned that the man had committed a series of break and enters in the Rockland area in which he was armed with an axe.

Vandalism

On February 24, a graffiti spree occurred at, and related to, Beacon Hill Park. Numerous buildings, including businesses, public and City of Victoria property appear to have been targeted in the vandalism spree. Many of the messages made reference to Beacon Hill Park and City staff. The cost of the damage is estimated to be in the several thousands of dollars.

Later that same morning, Officers were called to Beacon Hill Park in the area near the petting zoo just after noon February 24, 2021 for a report that the Queen Elizabeth II statue had been vandalized. There they discovered that the statue’s head had been removed.

Vehicles Damage and Fire

On February 23, Patrol officers were called to Beacon Hill Park after City of Victoria Bylaw officers called 911 to report that a man had smashed their truck window with a sledgehammer. The suspect then fled into the park on bicycle before Patrol officers arrived. Patrol officers located and arrested the man nearby a short time later without incident. He was released with a court date.

Shortly after 8 a.m. on Thursday, March 4, Patrol officers were called to Beacon Hill Park where the Victoria Fire Department was on scene extinguishing a vehicle fire. One man died in the incident. Major Crime Unit (MCU) detectives and officers with VicPD’s Forensic Identification Services (FIS) continued the investigation, along with the BC Coroners Service and the Victoria Fire Department. The MCU detectives concluded their investigation and the incident is not believed to be suspicious. The BC Coroners Service is continuing an independent investigation to determine all of the facts surrounding the death.

Integrated Canine Service

On Monday, February 1, the Saanich Police Department and VicPD announced the formation of the Integrated Canine Service (ICS). The ICS is a team of six Saanich Police and VicPD canine handlers and their eight police service dogs who serve the communities of Saanich, Victoria, and Esquimalt. The section operates out of VicPD’s Esquimalt Division headquarters.

The partnership provides police canine service with greater efficiency and better value. VicPD estimates that the integration allows for 1 to 1.5 police officer positions to be re-deployed to support other front-line operations.

Victoria/Esquimalt Policing Framework Agreement

On February 9, the Victoria and Esquimalt Police Board released two key documents that are central to advancing the Victoria/Esquimalt Policing Framework Agreement. These reports, which were commissioned by the Province of British Columbia address two main areas: (1) a new budget allocation formula for the funding of the Victoria Police Department by both Victoria Council and Esquimalt Council as the previous formula had expired and (2) an analysis of broader and ongoing Framework Agreement issues.

The Victoria and Esquimalt Police Board is requesting that both Councils support the beginning of the transition to a new budget allocation formula in 2021. Currently Victoria pays 85.3% of the police budget and Esquimalt pays 14.7%. Under the new approach – to be phased in over two years – Victoria would fund 86.33% of VicPD’s budget and Esquimalt would contribute 13.67%. The Board is also proposing that issues of resource deployment in both communities be resolved through the existing process laid out in the Framework Agreement that governs the relationship between Victoria, Esquimalt and the Police Board.

Online Reporting Expanded

In an effort to maintain operational readiness across the region, support our partners at E-Comm 9-1-1, reduce COVID-19 transmission risks, reduce hold times and streamline our services, we substantially expanded our ability to take calls for service through online reporting. Online reporting is only for incidents that don’t have suspect information. Suspect information includes video surveillance or photos.

Reporting calls for service online where possible saves yourself, E-Comm 9-1-1 and our officers time and help streamline our services. The new call types we can take online include attempted break and enters as well as counterfeit currency, frauds, mischiefs, thefts, theft from vehicles, and thefts from vehicles in secured parkades.

Bike Registry Transitioning

VicPD’s approach to bike registration is transitioning.  We are adopting the use of Project 529 Garage, an app that allows bike owners to register their bikes themselves, and permit owners to keep their bike information up-to-date.

Project 529 Garage’s app is already used by police departments across Vancouver Island, the Lower Mainland and elsewhere. With the ability for bicycle owners to upload photos of their bikes, notify other users if their bike is stolen through alerts and the ability to register using just an email, Project 529 has been successful in many jurisdictions. Many in Victoria and Esquimalt have already registered their bikes through Project 529 and VicPD officers will have access to the app on their issued devices to query found bicycles.  For more information on Project 529, please visit https://project529.com/garage.

Maintaining and supporting VicPD’s bike registry, requires resources from volunteer Reserve Constables and VicPD Records staff, while new online services have emerged that offer bike owners new ways to protect their bikes.  By moving away from a VicPD-supported Bike Registry, this will allow the department to reinvest our resources into other high-demand areas.

At the end of Q1 the net financial position is slightly above budget, primarily as a result of retirement expenditures that were excluded from the operating budget and intended to be funded out of the Employee Benefit Obligation Reserve. Overtime is below budget due to season variations in minimum coverage although we expect expenditures to increase into the summer. Equipment maintenance expenditures are above budget due to the timing of software licensing renewals. General expenditures are above budget due to additional janitorial expenditures to maintain operations during Covid-19. Other expenditures are either at or below budget at this time. Adjusting for retirements, overall expenditures are slightly below budget as of the end of Q1.