Vancouver police report busy, rowdy and violent Halloween weekend

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Fights, assaults, arsons and a homicide: “We were challenged with the sheer numbers of calls we responded to,” said VPD Sgt. Steve Addison. Author of the article:

Cheryl Chan

Sgt. Steve Addison said Vancouver Police had a hectic Halloween weekend, including calls for assaults, arsons, and a homicide. Photo by Francis Georgian /PNG

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It was a frighteningly busy Halloween for Vancouver Police, which is now investigating dozens of violent crimes out of more than 4,500 calls for police that poured in over the weekend.

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Sgt.

Steve Addison of the Vancouver Police Department said thousands of people came to Vancouver looking to party in one of the busiest periods in the downtown core since the pandemic began, resulting in arrests for fights, public intoxication and reports of gropings and assaults. Police received 4,550 calls for service over the Halloween weekend. Of these, more than half were placed to 911, a 10 per cent increase in calls compared to the same period last year.

Officers arrested more than 110 people between Friday night and Monday morning, including 82 for criminal offences and 30 for public drunkenness or breach of peace. At least five people reported being sexually assaulted, while four police officers were assaulted.

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“We were challenged with the sheer numbers of calls we responded to,” Addison told reporters at a news briefing on Monday.

The police department had expected the weekend to be busy and deployed more than 215 extra officers, but were still stretched thin due to the number of incidents, which included a homicide and arson cases, said Addison. Overnight Sunday, three vehicles were set on fire in what police believe was targeted arson. Two cars were set ablaze near Prince Edward Street and East 26th Avenue shortly before 1 a.m.

Monday, followed by a car parked near Victoria Drive and E.

54th Ave. less than two hours later. Addison said police are investigating whether these arsons are linked to the Lower Mainland gang conflict, as torching vehicles is a common MO for gangsters and their associates.

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These priority calls meant that Vancouver Police were unable to deal complaints about fireworks that lit up many neighbourhoods, despite a municipal fireworks ban.

“On a weekend as busy as we have just gone through … unfortunately we don’t have the luxury of being able to follow up on the dozens, if not hundreds, of fireworks complaints that people have,” Addison said, adding that the police’s priority is safety and it will investigate if fireworks use resulted in a criminal offence. Among the serious incidents that occurred on Halloween weekend is the city’s 14th homicide.

On Saturday night,  one man was killed and two people injured after a vehicle crashed in a roll-over collision on Fraser St. and E.

55th Ave . following a confrontation with people in another car. Investigators have not said how the man died.

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Police are also investigating a hit-and-run Saturday that left a 66-year-old woman dead . The woman was hit by a silver Acura TL near Broadway and Commercial Drive. A 30-year-old Surrey man has been arrested.

Speed and alcohol are believed to be factors in the collision.

Officers were also tied up with seven protests that occurred over the weekend in Vancouver, including a protest by Extinction Rebellion activists that closed down the intersection of Burrard St. and Pacific Avenue for several hours Friday afternoon. Five people were arrested.

chchan@postmedia.com

twitter.com/cherylchan

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