Armed Robbery
(Victoria Buzz stock file)

Victoria Police are answering business owners’ pleas for help as crime continues to rise in the downtown core.

According to a statement on Monday morning, VicPD is launching their ‘Project Downtown Connect’ in response to the business community in the city’s downtown core after dozens of shoplifting and vandalism reports over the past few months.

This initiative will increase patrols in downtown Victoria, maintaining higher police visibility and engaging with businesses in the community.

The program was first piloted in 2019 by the department’s Community Services Division and, according to VicPD, received overwhelmingly positive feedback from businesses and the public.

“Our small businesses are part of the lifeblood of our city,” said Mayor Lisa Helps. “I am proud of the work of VicPD officers and of their responsiveness and continued commitment to a high level of service in the downtown core.”

Another aspect of the initiative involves officers engaging with business owners and providing recommendations on security improvements.

Police will also advise the business community on how and when to report incidents.

The project will be staffed by officers from across the department on ‘special duty assignment’ due to resource constraints.

“We are excited to see VicPD more present in our downtown core,” said Jeff Bray of the Downtown Victoria Business Association in a statement.

“This initiative is a positive step in enhancing the safety of business employees and customers in our community.”