A two-block section of Pandora Street has been the centre of three violent crimes in the past three weeks, from a murder to an attack on a senior to a serious stabbing.
According to Victoria Police, though shocking, the level of violence is nothing new.
“I don’t think we can call it a wave of crime. Homicide aside, these are definitely concerning incidents, but I don’t think this is new to the area,” said Const. Terri Healy with Victoria Police.
On Sept. 14, Michael (Mikey) Henning, a well-known figure in the unhoused community, was found in “medical distress” in the early morning hours on the 1000-block of Pandora. His death was deemed a homicide by the Vancouver Island Integrated Major Crime Unit (VIIMCU).
Twelve days later, a 70-year-old was assaulted by multiple people, multiple times just one block away. Video shows him being punched, hit with an item from behind, and sprayed with what police say appears to be bear spray.
On Wednesday morning, Victoria police were seen investigating a stabbing of a 26-year-old man who was left with serious but non-life-threatening injuries. Trails of blood could be seen outside the Save-On-Foods on the 900-block of Pandora.
“The victim is still in hospital. His injuries are considered serious but non-life threatening injuries. We haven’t identified a suspect at this time,” said Healy.
Though alarming, service providers who work on what’s known as “The Block” agree that Henning’s murder aside, the violence isn’t out of the ordinary.
“So many people are just in survival mode, they’re just trying to get through every day. And a lot of times, that can be territory. People moving in on a place where you feel comfortable in. So sometimes acts of violence are acts of survival,” said Grant McKenzie with Our Place.
If not life-threatening, McKenzie says many victims turn to Our Place, not the police, for help, with many likely not even reporting the crime to police for fear of retribution.
Victoria police say turf wars do happen from time to time, but can’t confirm if that’s what these incidents of violence are connected to or if there’s any reason to believe they’re connected at all.