VPD say incidents were unprovoked
By Jessica Berget, Assistant Editor
Non-violent crimes like break-and-enters into businesses have increased by 18 percent, and arson has gone up by 39 percent.
While many Vancouverites were celebrating this holiday season, three random machete attacks occurred in the downtown area of Vancouver.
The first incident involved a 29-year-old homeless man escaping serious harm outside of a Canadian Tire on Cambie Street on Christmas Eve. The second attack of a 52-year-old man took place on New Year’s Eve near Granville and Nelson, sending the victim to the hospital with head injuries. Vancouver Police Department (VPD) says the man was struck in the head by a man carrying a machete outside of a coffee house around 7 pm. The VPD reports another attack of a 26-year-old homeless man around the same location—this attack left the victim with facial injuries. Vancouver Police say these were unprovoked attacks and that there may be one or more victims who have yet to come forward.
On January 6, a thirty-three-year-old man was charged with two of these attacks. Cruz Joseph was charged with two counts of assault with a weapon, another two counts of assault bodily harm, and possession of a dangerous weapon in connection with the December 31 incidents. However, the December 24 event is still under investigation and VPD says it is unclear if the assaults are connected.
While these types of violent attacks are rare, the VPD reports that the rate of some violent crimes went up last year, and possibly due to COVID-19. While Vancouver crime levels for 2019 and 2020 were similar, certain types of crime have increased and decreased in 2020. In fact, during the first six months of 2020, violent crimes went up 5.2 percent due to a rise of serious assaults.
According to the VPD, serious assaults like aggravated assault, assault causing bodily harm, and assault with a weapon went up by 14 percent compared to last year. Other crimes like robberies have decreased six percent. The number of homicides in the city also went up in 2020 with 14 as compared to nine in 2019, and assaults against police officers have also gone up nearly 50 percent.
Non-violent crimes like break-and-enters into businesses have increased by 18 percent, and arson has gone up by 39 percent. On the other hand, many crimes also decreased in comparison to 2019; robberies went down six percent, property crime fell by 20 percent, theft from vehicles and shoplifting have gone down 37 percent and 26.6 percent respectively, and reports of sexual offences went down 5 percent.