(Topaz Park homeless encampment/Victoria Buzz)

Victoria council has granted the police department’s request for additional funding for the purpose of deploying more uniformed officers in and around the Topaz Park area.

In a report to city council that was deliberated on Thursday, VicPD Chief Del Manak presented his observations about the rise of crime in the area, as well as an increase in the number of people coming to Topaz Park from areas outside Victoria.

“When a shelter or site for the vulnerable sector establishes itself, so too does the criminal element that preys upon that sector and the surrounding community,” Manak said in the report.

“The good work attempting to be done is overshadowed by those that are committing ‘survival crime’ as well as by the criminals that target this vulnerable sector.”

A visual element of the report shared by the police department shows just how much crime has increased in the area in the week of April 5th to 11th.

In light of these statistics, the police Chief requested the ability to assign two officers to he Topaz Park neighbourhood seven days a week for a period of five weeks, at a cost of $52,500.

After a Committee of the Whole meeting, Mayor Lisa Helps announced that the funding has been granted and will be redirected from the cities “late night great night” program which normally funds police presence in areas with nightclubs and bars on weekends.

Now that bars and nightclubs have been closed for over a month, the city is also redirecting up to $100,000 from that program to fund city staff in their work to help support vulnerable populations during this pandemic.

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