Documents/VPD/2: Violent Crime

2: Violent Crime

Reduce violent crime by 10%, by 2012

Other Information:

The Vancouver Police Department Strategic Plan 2004-2008 included a commitment to reduce violence against the vulnerable. Several objectives were identified, including working to reduce barriers for marginalized citizens, targeting sexual offenders living in our community, committing more resources to domestic violence investigations, enhancing our working relationship with sex trade worker advocacy organizations and targeting those that exploit sex trade workers. Significant steps have been taken to address these objectives since they were identified. Our Victim Services Unit has increased in strength and restructured from a model of clerical staff supporting volunteers engaged in support, to a model that includes full-time support workers. We created a High Risk Offender Unit that is now a model for the country on how to manage sex offenders in the community. We have added a counsellor and four detectives to the Domestic Violence Unit. We have increased our liaison hours and resource time committed to working with sex trade worker advocacy groups and the John School program. In addition, we have created an Elder Abuse investigator/liaison position. As we move forward, a new round of consultation has occurred identifying additional strategies aimed at reducing violence against the vulnerable and violent crime in general. The City of Vancouver has seen a rise in level II and III assaults and violent crime in general in the last year. The majority of this increase occurred in the two North Districts and can best be described as street violence. Further analysis is required to determine if this is an accurate reflection of a trend or a shift caused by other factors, such as: * An increase in police officers in these areas (which allows for more reports of a crime rate already in existence) * An increase in the permanent population * An increase in the transient population caused by people visiting the Entertainment District, especially with the extended hours for liquor-licensed establishments. Whether the rise in violent crime is real or a reflection of increased reporting, the public perception will be that there is increasing violence in our community. This, in turn, may result in deteriorated feelings of safety and reduced confidence in the police. It is important to develop a plan that involves three components: reducing the number of violent incidents, effectively addressing the violent incidents that do occur, and maintaining effective communication with the public about police actions in response to these incidents. The VPD has taken proactive steps to increase police presence in the Entertainment District and has used best practice strategies to cordon off areas of Granville Street, in an effort to build a neutral zone where citizens can feel safe. This strategy has resulted in short-term reductions in street violence in this area. Longer-range deployment solutions will continue to be explored. In addition to addressing street violence, proactive strategies designed to protect vulnerable victims will further reduce the incidence of violent crime. Vulnerable victims include the following: * Children * The elderly * The physically and mentally challenged * Victims of domestic abuse * Children, women and vulnerable men who may be preyed upon by sexual predators * Marginalized persons, including the mentally ill, the poor and disadvantaged, and sex trade workers * People belonging to minority groups who may be targeted by violent offenders because of their beliefs, lifestyle or affiliation; an example of such groups would be visible ethno-cultural minorities and members of the lesbian, gay, transgendered and bisexual communities. Because most crimes against the vulnerable have a societal component, an effective police response rests on our ability to work in meaningful and ongoing partnerships with community groups to develop plans for victim safety and offender accountability. Police have the authority and expertise to develop enforcement strategies to hold offenders accountable. Community agencies and groups have the credibility and information to develop safety plans for victims that encourage their involvement with the criminal justice system and bring needed information to the police. One of the never-ending difficulties for police is to understand the true nature and scope of this problem. The gap between reported and unreported crime is difficult to measure, but is known to be very significant in these types of cases. Statistics on reported acts of violence would lead one to believe that most offences occur outside of the home. However, it is understood that more violent crime occurs inside residences than out in the general public. In this area, more than any other, we cannot simply rely on reports and statistics to measure and combat the problem of violent crime committed against the vulnerable. The community will be willing to collaborate with the police if the VPD combines a multi-faceted and partnership approach, and regular communication with community groups and the public as a whole, with clear statistical analysis. MEASUREMENTS Key Performance Indicator: Violent crime rates for murder and attempted murder, robbery and level II and III assaults Additional Measurements: * Violent crime reporting rates for sex trade workers, either directly to police or through support agencies * Violent crime reporting rates for the elderly and vulnerable * Violent crime reporting rates within ethnic communities * The number of interventions in domestic violence incidents by community counsellor/police investigator teams from the Domestic Violence and Criminal Harassment Unit

Stakeholder(s):

  • Children

  • The Elderly

  • The Physically and Mentally Challenged

  • Victims of Domestic Abuse

  • Victims of Sexual PredatorsChildren, women and vulnerable men who may be preyed upon by sexual predators

  • Marginalized PersonsMarginalized persons, including the mentally ill, the poor and disadvantaged, and sex trade workers

  • Minority GroupsPeople belonging to minority groups who may be targeted by violent offenders because of their beliefs, lifestyle or affiliation; an example of such groups would be visible ethno-cultural minorities and members of the lesbian, gay, transgendered and bisexual communities

Objective(s):