Vancouver, a major city in Canada and North America, has experienced a surge in crime over a couple of years. Crimes such as robberies have increased by nearly 21% between 2017 and 2019. Major crimes such as assault and robbery have also taken a major hit. Several policies and practices can be attributed to the rise of crime in Vancouver. The first is the policy of decreasing the size of police presence downtown. Since the mid-1990s, there has been a gradual decrease in police presence in downtown Vancouver and its neighbourhood, allowing a gradual increase in criminal activities. The infringement of personal rights has also contributed to the rise of crimes in the city, where police are seen as interfering with individuals through proactive questioning. Another policy that has contributed to the rise of crime in the city is the defunding of the police limiting their activities. The revolving door justice system has also contributed to the rise of crime, where suspected individuals of crime are arrested and released again, leading to a lot of criminal action by organized groups. The practice of drugs and drug addiction through the safe supply policy has also hugely contributed to the city’s rise in crime. Numerous crimes reported to the police department have a basis of drug abuse, including violent crimes.
Several policies and practices can be implemented to help mitigate Vancouver’s crime situation. The first policy would be addiction and drug control policies which would help reduce drug-related crimes, such as the illicit trade of heroin and cocaine. Also, through these drug control policies, homelessness can be reduced as people can afford housing through controlled addiction. Many people are homeless due to drug addiction, where the money for housing is spent on drugs. Through drug control policies, it would be easy for police to make a charge on simple possession of drugs such as heroin which would be a huge step in controlling crimes in the Canadian city. Housing programs would also be important in reducing the high crime rate in Vancouver through providing shelter and increasing security. In addition, providing mental health services is part of the city’s policies for controlling crime. Moreover, pulling out policies such as the safe supply and the extreme harm reductionists policies would be important in reducing public fear of harmful drug control processes.
On personal reflection, Gunn’s (2022) video has exposed why the crime rate in Vancouver has been rising over the past few years. It is true to say that, in deed, crime in Vancouver has become a menace to the city’s dwellers. According to Andresen et al. (2017) crime report, many citizens have expressed worry over the rise of terror menace in the city. Gunn’s video has expressed some of the ways crime has become prevalent in the city: through armed robberies, muggings, burglary, threats using weapons, and stealing. It is true to say that limiting the interaction between the police and members of the public through decreasing the police presence downtown has contributed to the rise of crime in Vancouver. Secondly, defunding the police to limit their activities and operations through legislation in the city’s council is a sure way of increasing crime in Vancouver. Defunding the police as a measure to counter-check their activities is a bad decision that needs to be revised with immediate effect. Proper mechanisms can be put in as measures to oversee the police’s operations to ensure that the police do not harm citizens. Moreover, Gunn has stated the city has put into place the revolving door justice system that ensures suspected individuals of crime are released amid pending investigations. Such policy needs to be amended to ensure that an individual remains under custody until proper investigations are completed rather than releasing individuals who may go back to harming the public again.
Drug policies such as the safe supply policy, where drugs are made easily accessible to the public, need to be revised and pulled down to ensure that addiction and overdose are under control. Gunn has stated in his video that addiction and overdose are key ways crimes are facilitated, as individuals would engage in these acts to get their daily satisfaction. Extreme harm reductionist policies are not a proper way to engage the public in the campaign against drug abuse. These policies are, in fact leading to the causes of crime. A proper way would be to engage the members of the public in Vancouver to find the most suitable way of overcoming the burden of drug addiction. Furthermore, the housing program initiated by the city’s government is a suitable method to help control the homelessness rate. However, housing policies should not be based on previous records of crime that individuals have but rather on a willingness to enhance safety and security for all individuals.
Andresen, M. A., Linning, S. J., & Malleson, N. (2017). Crime at places and spatial concentrations: Exploring the spatial stability of property crime in Vancouver BC, 2003–2013. Journal of quantitative criminology, 33, 255-275. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10940-016-9295-8
Gunn A. (2022). Vancouver is Dying. https://youtu.be/PT8OU8Yhs_s