Vancouver – Vancouver Police deployed hundreds of additional officers over the past weekend in response to multiple demonstrations and violent crimes throughout the city.

“Like many major cities across Canada, we’ve seen an increase in the number of people gathering to protest recent geo-political events,” says Sergeant Steve Addison. “We continue to deploy extra officers so we can manage these protests while maintaining service to all neighbourhoods in the city.”

Nine weekend protests drew thousands to the city’s downtown core, as people gathered to express their views on a variety of issues. VPD officers managed crowds and mitigated disruptions as some of the groups march through traffic in support of their causes.

The protests were among more than 1,600 incidents VPD officers responded to during the busy weekend, which included several stabbings and other violent assaults that were not linked to the protests.

Other incidents of note:

  • A 40-year-old man was stabbed in the stomach by an unidentified suspect near Granville and Smithe Street around 1:30 p.m. Sunday. A Vancouver Police officer working nearby was flagged over by a witness who saw the suspect flee. VPD aided the victim, who was taken to hospital and treated for serious injuries. No arrests have been made and the incident is still under investigation. The victim is expected to survive.
  • Multiple people were injured and required treatment after bear spray was deployed inside a coffee shop near Seymour and Helmcken Street on Sunday afternoon. VPD was called to the coffee shop just before 3 p.m. after a suspect entered the store, sprayed a woman, and accused her of stealing something. Staff members and other customers were overcome by the spray and received treatment. The suspect fled, however VPD is reviewing security footage. Investigators are working to determine whether the incident is related to a second bear-spray assault that occurred several minutes later on Expo Boulevard.
  • A 29-year-old woman was assaulted near West Hastings and Abbott Street early Sunday morning when an unknown suspect attacked her with bear spray following an argument on the street. VPD officers working in the Downtown Eastside came across the woman lying injured on the sidewalk. The officers provided assistance to the injured woman and helped her get home. The suspect fled and has not been identified.
  • A street-fight between two men in the Downtown Eastside turned extremely violent when one person was stabbed in the back Sunday evening. VPD officers were patrolling the area, saw the assault take place, and apprehended the suspect. The victim, a 49-year-old man, was treated by ambulance. The 41-year-old suspect has been identified.
  • A man sustained serious head injuries early Monday morning after being struck with a machete near East Pender and Columbia Street, in the Downtown Eastside. VPD officers found the victim, badly injured and bleeding from the head, on East Hastings Street. He was taken to hospital for treatment and his injuries are serious. The suspect fled and the incident remains under investigation.
  • A ride-share driver was slashed with a knife following an altercation with a passenger in East Vancouver. The incident happened around 8:40 p.m. Friday near Trout Lake Park after the driver picked up two passengers on Quebec Street and transported them to Nanaimo Street and South Grandview Highway. There was an altercation at the end of the trip, resulting in the driver being injured. A witness called 9-1-1 and VPD officers tracked the suspect to a building on Nanaimo Street, where a man was taken into custody. A 19-year-old man has been charged for assault with a weapon.
  • A 51-year-old man was stabbed in the chest near East Broadway and Fraser Street, in Mount Pleasant, on Saturday morning. A witness called 9-1-1 after the injured man boarded a bus around 1 a.m., and VPD officers provided aid until an ambulance arrived. The victim was taken to hospital and is expected to survive. The investigation is ongoing and no arrests have been made.
  • A prolific shoplifter threatened to stab an employee with a knife while trying to steal nearly $200 in groceries from a a store on Grandview Highway, in East Vancouver. The worker was not injured and quickly called 9-1-1, allowing VPD officers to respond quickly and arrest the suspect as he attempted to flee toward the SkyTrain. The suspect, who already had bail conditions to not be at the grocery store, was taken to jail. Charges are recommended.

Speaking to the Vancouver Police Board on October 19, Chief Constable Adam Palmer acknowledged community safety concerns stemming from the October 7 terrorist attacks on Israel, and said VPD has deployed extra officers at various locations throughout the city. Chief Palmer said VPD will continue to deploy extra officers to address those concerns while making sure VPD can maintain service levels in other areas of the city.

“You will see a lot of extra officers around the city [and] this is going to be a budgetary issue because it’s significant callouts,” Chief Palmer told the Police Board. “But we’re not going to scrimp on public safety and we’re going to make sure we’ve got the right resources out there to keep the community safe.”