Vancouver police report busy, rowdy and violent Halloween weekend
It was a frighteningly busy Halloween for Vancouver police, who are investigating dozens of violent crimes out of more than 4,500 calls for police that poured in over the weekend.
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.
“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 assigned 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 war, as torching stolen vehicles used in crimes is common for gangsters and their associates.