2021-Q2

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 (Esquimalt & Victoria)

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 | For all data up to and including 2019, Statistics Canada reported VicPD’s data for its combined jurisdiction of Victoria and Esquimalt. Beginning with 2020 data, StatsCan is separating that data out for both communities. Therefore, the charts for 2020 do not display data for past years as direct comparisons are not possible with this change of methodology. As data is added over successive years, however, year-to-year trends will be displayed.

Crime Rate - Esquimalt

Crime Rate - Victoria

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

Crime Severity Index (Esquimalt & Victoria)

The crime severity index (CSI), as published by Statistics Canada, measures both the volume and severity of police-reported crime in Canada.  In the index, all crimes are assigned a weight by Statistics Canada based on their seriousness.  The level of seriousness is based on actual sentences handed down by the courts in all provinces and territories.

This chart shows the crime severity index for all municipal police services in BC as well as the provincial average for all police services.  For VicPD’s jurisdiction, the CSI for the City of Victoria and the Township of Esquimalt are shown separately, which is a feature that was first introduced with the release of 2020 data.  For historic CSI figures that show combined CSI data for VicPD’s jurisdiction of both Victoria and Esquimalt, click here VicPD 2019 Crime Severity Index (CSI).

Data for 2021 will be updated when released by Statistic Canada.

Crime Severity Index

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

Crime Severity Index - Non-Violent

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

Crime Severity Index - Violent

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 (Esquimalt & Victoria)

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 Updated | For all data up to and including 2019, Statistics Canada reported VicPD’s data for its combined jurisdiction of Victoria and Esquimalt. Beginning with 2020 data, StatsCan is separating that data out for both communities. Therefore, the charts for 2020 do not display data for past years as direct comparisons are not possible with this change of methodology. As data is added over successive years, however, year-to-year trends will be displayed.

Weighted Clearance Rate (Esquimalt)

Weighted Clearance Rate (Victoria)

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 time is defined as the time that elapses between the time a call is received to the time the first officer arrives on scene.

Charts reflect median response times for the following Priority One and Priority Two calls:

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

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

Hit-And-Run Crash Narrowly Misses Children

Officers were called to the intersection of Lampson Street and Old Esquimalt Road at approximately 1:45 p.m. on April 15th for a report of a collision.  Officers learned that a white truck was traveling at high speed on Lampson Street when it lost control and swerved, narrowly missing a group of children.  The driver of the vehicle then fled the area.

A video canvass was conducted after reports of the same vehicle driving erratically were received. The vehicle was located, photographed, and towed away. Several attempts to locate the driver of the vehicle were unsuccessful. This investigation is ongoing.

Road Rage and Hate-Motivated Incident

On Tuesday, May 25th at 4:30 p.m., Patrol officers received a report that a woman and her daughter were cycling in the area of Craigflower Road and Arcadia Street in Esquimalt when a driver attempted to force them off the road.

Officers spoke with the victims and learned that they had a brief verbal confrontation with a man driving a black sports car at the intersection. The man yelled hateful and racist slurs at the mother and daughter during the incident. Thankfully, the mother and her daughter were not physically injured.

A community update was issued, and several people responded with vehicles similar in nature to the one involved in the incident; however, none of the vehicles were seen at the time the incident occurred. This incident remains under investigation.

Assault with a Weapon

On June 2nd, Patrol officers were called to the 1300-block of Esquimalt Road by a resident reporting that a neighbour was knocking on her door covered in blood. Patrol attended and located a victim with a large cut on his head. The victim advised police that he was attacked by his roommate with a wooden sword. The suspect was located and arrested without incident.

Decreases occurred in Social Order calls, including Man Down, Unwanted Persons and Public Intoxication reports. As well, decreases were seen in calls related to Missing Persons and Mental Health events. Increases occurred in Assist Other Agency and Suspicious Circumstances calls in the vicinity of Westside Village Shopping Centre, Esquimalt Plaza and Saxe Point Park.

Property Crimes calls associated with thefts dropped, while break and enter calls increased - largely associated with break-ins to outbuildings of residential homes, including garages and storage sheds, as well as storage lockers in apartment buildings.

Crimes Against Person calls decreased, with a drop in Harassment and Threats calls. However, an increase occurred in Common Assaults, including intimate partner violence reports.

#VicPDWarrantWednesday Enforcement Project

On Wednesday, May 12th, VicPD Patrol and Community Services Division 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 27 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, assault causing bodily harm, sexual assault, and sexual interference involving a youth.

Late in the afternoon, officers arrested a man sought for firearms offences after a search warrant at his suite in a multi-unit temporary housing facility the previous night yielded a handgun. In addition, the man was wanted on outstanding warrants for possession of stolen property over $5,000, possession of break and enter instruments, breach of a release order, possession of identity documents, and drug-related offences.

The day-long enforcement project was shared on Twitter as #VicPDWarrantWednesday. Not all arrests were captured on Twitter.

Speed and Cell Watch

As part of Road Safety Week (May 18-24), VicPD officers and VicPD volunteers deployed various tools at high-traffic areas in both Victoria and Esquimalt to help keep our roads safe.

National Volunteer Week

On April 14th, Inspector Brown and Constables Lastiwka, Magee, and Shaw showed their support for volunteers during National Volunteer Week.

Popsicle Patrol

On June 1st, Sergeant Hollingsworth and Constable Lastiwka, while on mountain bike patrol, attended the Esquimalt Adventure Water Park for “Popsicle Patrol.” The officers handed out popsicles provided by Esquimalt Country Grocer to help the children beat the heat.

Esquimalt High Graduation Motorcade Procession

On June 19th, Mayor Desjardins, the Base Commander, the Base Chief, and Chief Manak were out in Esquimalt congratulating all the 2021 Esquimalt High graduates during their motorcade procession through Esquimalt.

Fraud Awareness

A number of high-profile cybercrime-based frauds struck citizens and businesses in Victoria and Esquimalt during Q2. VicPD Public Affairs helped prevent additional victimization by engaging our community and proactively providing prevention information.

2021 VicPD Community Survey

The 2021 VicPD Community Survey provides an opportunity for VicPD to hear from residents and business owners, operators and staff to tell us how we are doing. In addition to completing the intake portion of the survey, Q2 saw the 2021 Community Survey results released and the launch of a “deep dive” exploration of key 2021 Community Survey topics. We are proud of our 86% overall satisfaction rate in Esquimalt and already working on our survey for next year.

Enforcement in Parks and Trails

On June 11th, Constable Lastiwka and Sergeant Hollingsworth on mountain bikes conducted enforcement in the parks and on the trails of Esquimalt and Victoria West. They took the time to speak with citizens and answer questions.

Sharing Overdose Prevention Information in Concert with Partners

As B.C.’s deadly opioid overdose epidemic continues, we have continued to amplify the work of partners, including Island Health, B.C. Emergency Health Services, and others by sharing overdose alerts and reminding those who use drugs of the importance of calling 911. These efforts have included myth-busting about VicPD responses to 911 calls for overdoses, reminding our community of Good Samaritan legislation that protects those who call for help during an overdose. Where possible, we share the stories of officers responding to overdose calls, providing life-saving CPR, naloxone and responses which do not result in arrests, charges, searches, or drug seizures.

Cybercrime Alerts

Cybercrimes including fraud, confidence scams and thefts continue to plague Victoria and Esquimalt, resulting in hundreds of thousands of dollars in losses to businesses and individuals. Building on recent research into fostering resilience by de-stigmatizing falling victim to cybercrime, we have shared stories about these files, which emphasize how citizens and businesses can protect themselves from sophisticated, professional cybercriminals.

Victoria

Officers Arrest Wanted Man, Seize Firearms, Body Armour, And Drugs After Search Warrant

Shortly after 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 19th, Patrol officers and the Greater Victoria Emergency Response Team (GVERT) executed a search warrant at a suite in a supportive housing facility in the 700-block of Queens Avenue. A man, who was wanted on warrants for possession of drugs for the purpose of trafficking, was located in the suite and arrested.

During the search of the suite, officers located three firearms: a loaded sawed-off 12-gauge shotgun, a .22 calibre rifle with a drum magazine, and a .22 calibre handgun.

Traffic Stop Leads to Loaded Handgun, Replica Pistol, Fentanyl

Shortly after midnight on April 18th, Patrol officers observed a vehicle being driven erratically in the 2900-block of Douglas Street. The officers conducted a traffic stop, and when they approached the vehicle, they observed a handgun on the floor of the vehicle. The officers arrested the two occupants.

As officers searched one of the men, they discovered that he was carrying a loaded 9mm handgun in a shoulder holster. Officers seized the firearm. The handgun officers spotted on the floor of the vehicle was a replica firearm.

Double Stabbing

At approximately 3:30 p.m. on Monday, April 20th, Patrol officers were called to the 900-block of Pandora Avenue for a report that two men had been bear sprayed and stabbed. Officers attended and located two men who were victims of the incident, suffering from potentially life-threatening injuries. The men were transported to hospital by BC Emergency Health Services paramedics. Following treatment, their injuries are now considered non-life-threatening.

Investigating officers identified three suspects in the incident and located and arrested them.

Hate-Motivated Incidents

On April 6th, staff at the Chabad Centre for Jewish Life and Learning called police to report that they had discovered anti-Semitic graffiti marked on the building in the 2900-block of Glasgow Street. Staff moved to quickly remove the messages and reviewed surveillance footage. Two suspects were captured on video tagging the Centre. On April 9th, one of two suspects was identified. At the request of the parties involved, this file has been referred to Restorative Justice for resolution.

Shortly after 12 p.m. on Tuesday, May 4th, an off-duty VicPD officer, in civilian clothes and driving their personal vehicle, witnessed a shirtless man acting erratically in the 3000-block of Quadra Street. The shirtless man yelled and postured aggressively toward a man and his child. The man and child moved away from the suspect for their safety and were not physically harmed.

The suspect then headed towards Quadra Elementary School. The officer followed the man and called for additional uniformed police officers to attend. The suspect then obtained a broom handle and approached a woman walking with a stroller and her four children. The man spat at the family, narrowly missing a child, and yelled racial slurs regarding the family’s Asian ethnicity. The off-duty officer approached to intervene, and the man then attacked the off-duty officer’s personal vehicle, damaging it.

Uniformed officers arrived and arrested the man moments later. The man was transported to VicPD cells, where he was held in custody. He faces recommended charges of assault and mischief. The incident is being treated as a hate-motivated crime.

Sex Offender Arrested After Roommates Awoken by Stranger

Just before 1:30 a.m. on May 24th, Patrol officers were called to an apartment building in the 300-block of Cook Street for a report of a break and enter. Two roommates had awoken to the sound of a man in the living room of their apartment. Both roommates moved to investigate the sounds and discovered a man, armed with a makeshift club, on their couch. They retreated to a room with a lockable door and called 911.

Patrol officers responded and discovered the man on the apartment’s couch. He was quickly taken into custody. Given the man’s outstanding charges, as well as previous criminal convictions for serious crimes, including sexual offences and assault, he was held for court.

Fentanyl, Methamphetamine, Cocaine, And Cash Seized

In late May, VicPD officers began an investigation into drug traffickers in Victoria with ties to crime groups on the lower mainland. On May 31st, officers arrested two men at a hotel in the 3200-block of Maple Street in Saanich. With the assistance of Saanich Police, VicPD officers subsequently executed a search warrant on the hotel suite associated with these men and located quantities of fentanyl, methamphetamine, and cocaine consistent with a drug trafficking operation. The men were also found to be in possession of over $3,000 in cash, believed to be proceeds of crime. In total, officers seized approximately one kilogram of controlled substances.

Woman Arrested After Hammer Attack, Criminal Barricade

At 5:30 p.m. on June 13th, Patrol officers were called to a supportive housing facility in the 800-block of Johnson Street for a report that a woman attacked a man with a hammer. The victim suffered non-life-threatening injuries in the assault, and the suspect barricaded herself within a suite at that location.

Officers attended and worked to negotiate a surrender with the suspect. The woman refused to communicate with officers, so members of the Greater Victoria Emergency Response Team (GVERT), including the team’s Crisis Negotiators, were called to the scene.

After several hours of attempted negotiations, GVERT officers deployed several loud distraction devices. At approximately 9:30 p.m., the suspect exited the suite and refused to comply with police directions. Officers deployed ARWEN less-lethal munitions, and the suspect was taken into custody without further incident.

Significant increases occurred in Social Order calls, including: Keep the Peace, Man Down, Unwanted Person and Missing Persons – many of these calls were associated to the local Shelters. As well, increases were seen in calls related to Mental Health response, Check Well-being, Overdose, and Assist Other Agency (such as Provincial Ambulance Service and Victoria Fire Dept.)

Sharp increases were seen in Property Crimes calls associated with Shoplifting, while Break and Enter reports decreased.

Increases were seen in Crimes Against Person calls attributable to a rise in common assaults in and around shelters as well as violence linked to street-level disorder. Sexual Assault calls increased, many of which are linked to several high-profile cases.

One Arrested, Vehicle Seized in Strike Force Investigation

In late April, VicPD Strike Force officers and the Analysis and Intelligence Section began an investigation into a woman suspected of trafficking drugs at a multi-unit temporary housing facility in Victoria. Officers received a number of complaints regarding the woman’s suspicious behaviour in the area of a multi-unit temporary housing facility in the 3000-block of Blanshard Street. Acting on that information, VicPD Strike Force officers gathered evidence that the woman was trafficking drugs in Victoria.

On Thursday, April 29th, members of the Greater Victoria Emergency Response Team (GVERT) arrested the woman in the 900-block of Pandora Avenue after they observed additional evidence of drug trafficking. VicPD Strike Force officers, working with GVERT, later executed a search warrant on the woman’s vehicle and on the woman’s residence in Victoria. Officers recovered quantities of cocaine consistent with drug trafficking, as well as suspected fentanyl and methamphetamine.

#VicPDWarrantWednesday Enforcement Project

On Wednesday, May 12th, VicPD Patrol and Community Services Division 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 27 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, assault causing bodily harm, sexual assault, and sexual interference involving a youth.

Late in the afternoon, officers arrested a man sought for firearms offences after a search warrant at his suite in a multi-unit temporary housing facility the previous night yielded a handgun. In addition, the man was wanted on outstanding warrants for possession of stolen property over $5,000, possession of break and enter instruments, breach of a release order, possession of identity documents, and drug-related offences.

The day-long enforcement project was shared on Twitter as #VicPDWarrantWednesday. Not all arrests were captured on Twitter.

Fentanyl, Methamphetamine, Cash Seized After Search Warrant

On Wednesday, June 16th, VicPD and Greater Victoria Emergency Response Team officers executed a search warrant at a suite in a multi-unit temporary housing facility in the 3000-block of Blanshard Street. Officers located significant quantities of fentanyl and methamphetamine and hundreds of pills suspected to be controlled substances. In addition, officers seized approximately $20,000 in cash, a taser, and an e-bike believed to be stolen.

The suspect, a 51-year-old Victoria man, was arrested at the scene and later released from custody pending further investigation.

Speed and Cell Watch

As part of Road Safety Week in May, VicPD officers and VicPD volunteers deployed various tools at high-traffic areas in both Victoria and Esquimalt to help keep our roads safe.

 Fraud Awareness

A number of high-profile cybercrime-based frauds struck citizens and businesses in Victoria and Esquimalt during Q2. VicPD Public Affairs helped prevent additional victimization by engaging our community and proactively providing prevention information.

 2021 VicPD Community Survey

The 2021 VicPD Community Survey provides an opportunity for VicPD to hear from residents and business owners, operators and staff to tell us how we are doing. In addition to completing the intake portion of the survey, Q2 saw the 2021 Community Survey results released and the launch of a “deep dive” exploration of key 2021 Community Survey topics. We are proud of our 81% overall satisfaction rate among Victoria respondents and already working on the survey for next year.

Support for Ongoing Investigation into Reports of Sexualized Violence

Victoria’s downtown restaurant community was rocked by allegations of sexualized violence associated with a downtown Victoria Bar and Grill. While this investigation remains ongoing, and the department has not named any suspects or the location associated, we continued to support the investigation and those with information to share through ongoing engagement and updates. As many of the concerns were initially shared on Instagram, we continue to follow up in the forum where those with information feel most safe to share their stories, Instagram.

Cybercrime Alerts

Cybercrimes including fraud, confidence scams and thefts continue to plague Victoria and Esquimalt, resulting in hundreds of thousands of dollars in losses to businesses and individuals. Building on recent research into fostering resilience by de-stigmatizing falling victim to cybercrime, we have shared stories about these files, which emphasize how citizens and businesses can protect themselves from sophisticated, professional cybercriminals.

VicPD

VicPD continues to make progress towards our three main strategic goals outlined in VicPD Strategic Plan 2020.  Specifically, in Q2, the following goal-specific work was accomplished:

Support Community Safety

  • VicPD initiated work on an improved process for public requests for statistics, including looking at a technology-assisted tracking system to improve customer service.
  • VicPD worked with community partners to encourage those with information about reports of sexualized violence associated with a downtown Victoria bar and grill to come forward in support of an ongoing investigation.
  • Development continues on a new online Block Watch forum called Block Watch Connect, including a testing phase with existing Block Watch captains, to broaden community participation in this crime prevention program.

Enhance Public Trust

  • VicPD successfully completed the 2021 VicPD Community Survey project, which is an annual engagement process by which VicPD hears directly from the community about our service delivery.
  • Ongoing social distancing restrictions have reduced the number of in-person engagement opportunities with the community, but VicPD personnel continue to participate in virtual community events and discussions whenever possible.
  • Planning is complete for the re-opening of the public service counters at the headquarters building and Esquimalt Division in early July, including new streamlined processes for improving customer service.

Achieve Organizational Excellence

  • VicPD continues to work on a partnership with Island Health regarding the exploration of alternative responses to mental health calls.
  • The recruitment and training of our Special Municipal Constables is now complete and the inaugural class of four has been assigned to our patrol watches to directly support operations.
  • Work continues to acquire and implement a Human Resources Information System, including the issuing of a request for proposals, which will streamline a variety of key processes across VicPD.

Officer Burnout and Reduced Capacity

VicPD continues to experience challenges in meeting the service expectations of the department and community.  Our staff are reporting that deficits in the required number of deployable officers are resulting in officer burnout and reduced capacity to fully staff shifts, resource special events and prevention-focused duties. While we continue to search for ways to meet expectations within existing resources, we are concerned that the current situation will continue to have a detrimental effect absent a gradual increase in police officer positions.

Shelter Space and Supportive Housing Related Calls for Service

The City of Victoria and the provincial government have made housing those experiencing homeless a priority. The City of Victoria has the highest number of shelter space and supportive housing beds in the region by a significant margin and, as statistics related to calls for service demonstrate, there is an associated public safety cost.

Since the onset of COVID-19 in Victoria in March of 2020, eight supportive housing sites and shelters have been opened in the City of Victoria. While some of these sites are temporary, BC Housing announced four new permanent locations in the City of Victoria in March 2021 that will house another 192 clients. It is important to note this does not reflect the population at encampments at the various parks across the region that included Beacon Hill Park, Cecelia Ravine, Royal Athletic Park, Topaz Park, Vic West Park, Bamfield Park, Irving Park, etc.

According to data provided by the Analysis and Intelligence Section (AIS), violent crime and property crime incidents related to and in the immediate area of supportive housing sites and parks have increased in the last 3 years (January 1 to June 30, 2019-2021).  For example, the Burnside Gorge area has surpassed the downtown core for the prevalence of both property and public disorder calls (e.g. disturbance, fights, public intoxication, by-law, etc.) and has realized an 81% rise in crimes against persons compared to a 17% increase in the downtown.  Since the population in this area has not increased considerably over this period, is it likely that the introduction of the supportive housing sites has played a contributing factor.  Significant increases in calls for service can also be seen at supportive housing sites such as Paul’s Motor Inn (443%), the Comfort Inn (158%), and the Travelodge (58%) when comparing the first 6 months of 2019 with the first six months of 2021.

Other key statistics (for April 1 – June 30 for 2019, 2020, 2021):

Property-related calls to parks and supportive housing areas in 2019 was 29% of all property-related offences in VicPD’s jurisdiction and in 2021 that increased to 35.6%.

Public disorder-related calls to parks and supportive housing areas in 2019 was 41.2% of the total public disorder calls and in 2021 those calls increased to 44.1%.

Crimes Against Persons-related calls to parks and supportive housing areas in 2019 was 32.7% of the total and in 2021 they accounted for 39.2% of the total.

Beacon Hill Park continues to be a source of a number of police calls for service:

Assault of 15-Year-Old

Shortly after 10 p.m. on Tuesday, April 20th, Patrol officers were called to Beacon Hill Park, near Douglas Street and Circle Drive, for a report that a 15-year-old had been assaulted and choked in a tent at that location. Officers attended and located the victim, being treated by paramedics for non-life-threatening but potentially life-altering injuries from the assault.

When officers attempted to speak with the victim, numerous people who are camping in the park began to intervene, urging the victim to not speak with officers, to not go to hospital for medical treatment, and to leave the area. They began confronting the officers and paramedics and continued to urge the 15-year-old victim to leave the area, physically grabbing the victim and pulling them away.

Having significant concern for the victim’s safety, officers apprehended them under the Child, Family and Community Service Act. A struggle ensued between those camping in the park, the 15-year-old victim, and officers. Officers called for a “code 3” response, and additional units responded to assist.

One officer was bitten, and another struck in the mouth with spit while the victim was carried to the ambulance and secured for transport to the hospital. The victim was transported to a hospital for treatment without further incident.

As they continued their investigation, officers learned that the victim is developmentally delayed and had been reported missing from home. Other officers were working to locate the victim at the time they were discovered in Beacon Hill Park.

Patrol officers eventually located and arrested the suspect within Beacon Hill Park. Officers transported the man to VicPD cells, where he was held to await court. The man faces several recommended charges in relation to this incident, including assault, assault by choking, assault with a weapon, sexual interference, and sexual exploitation.

Man With Extensive Criminal History And Wanted On Warrants Arrested

Patrol officers arrested a man in Beacon Hill Park, in the 100-block of Douglas Street on April 29th, who was wanted on warrants for assault, failing to comply with court-ordered conditions and breaching a court order.

The man’s warrants stem from two incidents: On May 20th, 2020, Patrol officers were called to a report of a theft and assault at a store in the 1600-block of Hillside Avenue. The man allegedly assaulted a store employee who confronted him after a theft. The employee suffered non-life-threatening injuries in the attack. When officers arrested the man, they discovered that he was in possession of a replica firearm, in breach of court-ordered conditions stemming from a previous conviction. The man was arrested, the replica firearm seized, and he was released on additional conditions pending a future court date.

In a second incident, on November 13th, 2020, Patrol officers were called to a restaurant in the 100-block of Douglas Street for a report of a disturbance and an assault. Officers arrived and discovered that the man, who was staying in Beacon Hill Park, had attended the restaurant and allegedly stolen food. When confronted by staff, the man allegedly caused a disturbance and assaulted an employee by spitting at them, despite the dangers of COVID-19 transmission. The man was taken into custody after a brief struggle with officers. He was released with additional conditions and a future court date.

The man has an extensive history of previous criminal convictions, including convictions for assault, assault with a weapon, theft, mischief, being unlawfully at large, obstructing police, and breaching court-ordered conditions.

Warrants were issued for the man after he breached his court-ordered conditions.

He was arrested and transported to VicPD cells, where he was held for court.

Man Brandishing Knife

Shortly after 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 1st, Patrol officers were called to the washroom area near the playground in Beacon Hill Park for a report of a man brandishing a knife toward another man. Officers attended and learned that the suspect allegedly brandished a knife toward the victim, who was with his family at the time, which included a child in a stroller. The family reportedly ran away from the man and called the police. No one was injured in the incident.

Several officers attended and located the suspect nearby. He was arrested without incident and transported to VicPD cells, where he was held in custody.

Officers searched the suspect and located evidence of drug trafficking. A separate investigation into possession for the purpose of trafficking is ongoing.

The man faces recommended charges of assault with a weapon, possession of a prohibited weapon, and breaching a release order.

Gun Call

Patrol officers were called to the area near the Beacon Hill Children’s Farm in Beacon Hill Park just after 9:00 p.m. on May 8th for a report that one man was pointing a gun at another man. Officers rushed to the area and located a man who matched the suspect's description. The suspect had returned to a nearby motorhome and was called out by officers along with another occupant. The man was taken into custody at gunpoint. Two replica firearms and a crossbow were located and seized.

Project 529 Bike Registry Transition

This quarter, VicPD transitioned our Bike Registry program to Project 529. The Project 529 system is being utilized by many police agencies in B.C. and beyond.  The system provides enhanced functionality compared with our previous approach, including the ability to upload photos of bikes at the time of registration.  We encouraged previous registrants to sign up for the newly available, privately-owned and managed Project 529 registry tool, which our officers are able to use to search and report stolen and recovered bikes. We still continue to investigate bike thefts and, where possible, leverage our strong online relationships with the Greater Victoria community to help return stolen bikes. We returned a custom-made bicycle which was vital to a Victoria student with special needs in being part of their school community. Thanks to our social media followers, Greater Victoria School District 61, Saanich Police Department and our own Public Affairs team, we were able to return the bike to the student’s very happy family.

At the end of Q2, the department’s net financial position is slightly above budget at 50.5%. Included in this are retirement expenditures of $962,404, planned to be funded through a drawdown in reserves if required.

Second quarter revenues are below budget due to the impact of COVID-19 on special duties and the front desk. Wages and benefits are below budget due to ongoing staffing challenges. Overtime expenditures also remain below budget, although we expect demand to increase as we move to the busy summer months, with many COVID-19 restrictions being removed and a continuing need to maintain shift minimums through callouts. We continue to be below budget in travel and training due to reduced in-person opportunities, and communications expenditures are also expected to continue to remain below budget due to ongoing cost-saving measures. Some hygiene-related expenditures, necessary to maintain operations and staff safety, however, remain elevated. Overall, adjusting for retirements, net operating costs are below budget at the end of the second quarter.