In the early hours of Thursday morning on January 19th, someone smashed the large floor to ceiling front window of Adventure Clothing in downtown Victoria.
This marks the third instance of crime that the Yates Street retailer has experienced in its 12 years of existence and Jennifer Robinson, owner of Adventure Clothing, believes that the latest incident is part of a bigger problem.
“I got an alarm call at 4:40 a.m.,” Robinson told Victoria Buzz. “They don’t seem to be smashing my windows to break in or anything, they’re just smashing them out of vandalism.”
“People don’t go smashing windows for nothing.”
Although one of two massive windows was smashed, no one tried to enter the store and it appears no attempts to steal any products were made.
“I’m really thinking that it’s part of mental health issues and I really wish we could get together and try to lobby our governments to fund mental health [initiatives],” Robinson added.
Robinson believes that the lack of mental health support for vulnerable communities in Victoria is the root of the problem as well as the criminality of the downtown core.
The owner of Adventure Clothing lamented to Victoria Buzz her position of the state of downtown Victoria and people’s apprehension to visit and shop in certain areas by reading the back and forth she had with a post made on Facebook.
“The City of Victoria better take note before there are no quality stores left within the city limits. We tend not to come to the city because of this disgusting situation. We will however follow this fine establishment should they decide to move out to safer climes,” said a Victorian shopper on Adventure Clothing’s post about their window.
Robinson’s response was, “I understand your concerns about downtown, however I am going to do everything I can to make Victoria and Yates Street safer. I truly believe in our beautiful city and will not let them have it. It belongs to the law-abiding, tax-paying, productive members of our society and our amazing tourists that come from around the world.”
“That is my sentiment,” Robinson told Victoria Buzz.
“Any comments about downtown saying, ‘I don’t go there anymore; there’s no parking, it’s not safe,’ well the more people react that way, the more we are giving the power to these people that are doing no good.”
“We need to reverse that and keep it beautiful and make it more safe.”
She and many other Yates Street businesses believe in downtown and want the city to provide more support than just housing to fix a situation that has no definitive solution, only avenues of action that are not being taken.
“It’s not the homeless that’re causing these problems,” Robinson said. “It’s people that may not have a home but they’ve also got mental health issues that are undealt with so they’re angry and aggressive.”
She said VicPD sent only one officer who was there when she arrived at her store and that they were less than helpful.
The officer told her that had Robinson not arrived after theto the call to come to her shop, City of Victoria staff would be responsible for cleaning up the mess. However, since she showed up to her business, as any responsible business owner with the means to would do, she accepted the onus to handle the situation herself.
The strata building in which Adventure Clothing is situated will cover the cost of the window and First Response Glass got there within an hour and they were able to handle the cleanup and work on the installation of a new window.
The broken window was completely shattered and posed a huge risk to passersby in the state it was left in. If Robinson or her staff were to try to clean the glass themselves, someone could have gotten hurt.
Many Victorians who saw the well known retailers posts on social media gave an outpouring of support and sentiments of sorrow for this to have happened, but Robinson remains hopeful and focussed on the positives—no one was hurt and nothing was taken.
“The negative stuff is just just swimming in the toilet,” said Robinson. “We need to empower ourselves and we need to make sure that our downtown businesses are thriving and prosperous.”
This is the second instance of a window being smashed in downtown Victoria in the last month. The last incident being a meticulously planned break in and robbery of Madrona Gallery in Trounce Alley.
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