WATCH: A violent rampage through the streets of downtown Victoria on Wednesday night has left many in the area with a sense of unease. A man carrying a field hockey stick attacked people at random in what police say was a 15-minute spree. Kori Sidaway now with more on the perception that Victoria is not as safe as it once was.
A string of random attacks carried out by one man wielding a field hockey stick on Wednesday night sent six people to hospital. The man was apprehended and taken into custody, but the violence on the street has many wondering if downtown Victoria is safe.
“Well, I personally never come downtown at night. Once we’re done work we’re out, but it’s definitely concerning,” said local Vancouver Islander Sylvia Murphy.
“That’s one of the reasons why we don’t go out in the evening. You don’t want to walk around downtown if someone is off their medications and they come at you with whatever they’ve got,” said downtown Victorian Bob Wilson.
“Generally I feel quite safe, but the people in the washrooms in Centennial Square are shooting up so I don’t feel safe,” said Marilyn Irwin.
And popular perception may reflect statistic reality.
According to Maclean’s Magazine’s 2018 study of Canada’s most dangerous places – Victoria is ranked 30th for overall crime.
The study measures 229 Canadian cities and found that Victoria’s assault rate is more than double the national average. The city is also 27th for violent crime.
On the other hand, Victoria has low reports of firearm offences and cannabis trafficking.
According to the Victoria police crime database, the city typically sees a spike in violent crimes during the summer months, specifically on the weekends when our city is teeming with visitors, but many say there’s no need to worry.
“I think it really is an isolated incident, the streets are safe, tourists are flocking here, and in the summertime, in particular, there are a lot of people coming from the region here,” said Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps.
Victoria police agree.
“Our crime stats show that Victoria is a safe place to go, it’s a safe place to bring families and have dinner and socialize,” said Const. Matt Rutherford with Victoria police.
Both the mayor and Victoria police are confident they have the right measures in place to make sure a night like this is the exception in an otherwise safe city.