Vancouver – Vancouver Police are investigating dozens of serious crimes that occurred over the Halloween weekend, as thousands of people poured into the city for one of the busiest stretches of the Covid era.
“Despite deploying dozens of extra officers, VPD was stretched thin throughout the weekend after a number of violent incidents resulted in one homicide, several serious injuries, and extensive property damage,” says Sergeant Steve Addison, adding that at least five people reported being sexually assaulted and four police officers were assaulted during the weekend.
“Our officers were challenged due to the sheer number of incidents that took place across the city, but we’re working hard to gather evidence that will help us solve these crimes, hold offenders accountable, and keep people safe.”
VPD received 4,550 calls for service during the weekend, including 2,418 which were placed to 9-1-1. That’s a 10 per cent increase in 9-1-1 calls, compared to the same weekend last year.
More than 215 extra officers were deployed to handle the increased call volume, as well as to monitor large crowds in the entertainment districts, monitor multiple protests, and investigate serious crimes.
Incidents of note:
- Climate activists blocked rush-hour traffic Friday night when they occupied a major intersection at Burrard Street and Pacific Avenue, preventing hundreds of vehicles from entering the downtown core. Dozens of police officers were deployed for several hours to re-route traffic and negotiate with the protesters – some of whom had chained themselves together. Five people – three men and two women – were eventually arrested and taken to jail after they ignored repeated warnings to clear the intersection. The demonstration was one of seven protests and rallies in Vancouver during the Halloween weekend.
- One man was killed and two others seriously wounded during the city’s 14th homicide of the year, which occurred Saturday night on the South Slope. VPD officers responded to Fraser Street and East 55th Avenue after the victims’ vehicle was involved in a roll-over collision. Investigators believe the men were traveling in the vehicle when they were involved in a confrontation with people in another car. VPD’s Homicide Unit is investigating.
- A 66-year-old woman was struck and killed during a hit-and-run collision near East Broadway and Commercial Drive Saturday night. VPD believes the woman was struck by a man driving a silver Acura TL, which failed to stop or render assistance following the collision. VPD investigators later located the suspect vehicle and arrested a 30-year-old man who is believed to have been driving when the collision occurred. Speed and alcohol are possible factors.
- Multiple vehicles were set on fire overnight Sunday in South Vancouver in what police believe were targeted arsons. Shortly before 1 a.m. Monday, VPD launched an investigation after two cars were set on fire near Prince Edward Street and East 26th Avenue, in Mount Pleasant. Less than two-hours later, someone set fire to a car that was parked near Victoria Drive and East 54th Avenue. The car was completely destroyed. Investigators are looking into possible links to the Lower Mainland gang conflict.
“In addition to these major crimes, VPD officers also contended with large numbers of people who came downtown to party,” adds Sergeant Addison. “This resulted in several arrests for fights and drunkenness, as well as numerous reports of gropings and unprovoked assaults.”
VPD officers made more than 110 arrests between Friday night and Monday morning, including 82 people for criminal offences and 30 others for breach of peace or public intoxication.
VPD continues to investigate the weekend incidents, and encourages anyone who has not yet reported an incident to call police. All in-progress incidents, or anything that could put someone’s health and safety at risk, should be immediately reported to 9-1-1. Less-serious incidents, where there are no immediate safety concerns and the suspect has left, can be reported online or to VPD’s non-emergency line at 604-717-3321.