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1,705 people victims of unprovoked assaults in Vancouver since September 2020, police say

Vancouver Police say they received 1,555 reported unprovoked assaults
Police cars are seen parked outside Vancouver Police Department headquarters in Vancouver, on Saturday, January 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Four people are randomly assaulted in Vancouver every day, according to data released by the Vancouver Police Department.

Over the past several months, Vancouver Police have been sharing cases of unprovoked stranger assaults. In a Tweet, the VPD said they asked their strategic researchers to do a deep dive on data concerning unprovoked assaults and found that from September 1, 2020 to August 31, 2021, there were 1,555 reported assaults and 1,705 victims.

While the VPD said there was an “apparent uptick” in unprovoked stranger assaults, they have not totalled numbers from previous years and have not committed to gathering that data. VPD Cst. Tania Visintin said the 2020-21 data will be used as a “starting point” to compare future years.

The VPD also found 47 per cent of cases involved a weapon, 28 per cent of suspects “appeared” to have mental illnesses and 24 per cent of victims were women. VPD Cst. Tania Visintin said the random nature of the attacks and motives makes them difficult to prevent.

“There’s no pattern, there’s no time of day, there’s no certain area. It’s completely random.”

Some of the assaults detailed by the VPD included an attack where two men were walking downtown and one was slapped so hard his glasses broke. In another incident, a man running errands in the area of Quebec Street and W10th Avenue had his throat slashed by a stranger. That suspect was arrested and charged.

The data was released as the City of Vancouver begins to look at its budget priorities for 2022. Visintin said the data was not meant to sway budget deliberations, but to inform the public of what’s happening.

“We’ve been very vocal that we do need more police officers — we’ve always said that — that’s just a fact. Same with these numbers here, they’re a fact of what’s going on.”

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