Victoria Police say officers have been responding to calls of youth violence including calls of random attacks on elderly and unhoused persons.
In a release, VicPD says youth from neighbouring municipalities have been coming to downtown Victoria on Friday and Saturday nights to drink alcohol and do drugs.
Very few from Esquimalt. Many from Saanich, Langford, Oak Bay, Central Saanich, Sooke, Metchosin, etc. We’re working closing w partners across the school Districts & @SaanichPolice, @OakBayPolice @cspoliceservice @WestshoreRCMP to reach parents & deter violence & property damage.
— Victoria Police (@vicpdcanada) May 13, 2022
Sometimes the groups are over 150 youths gathering in locations across downtown Victoria and the surrounding area.
According to the release, officers have learned that some of the youths parents are supplying them with bear spray and alcohol.
“Some of these youth are conducting violent, random attacks and have told officers that they believe that they will face no consequences for their unlawful actions,” said Const. Cam MacIntyre, spokesperson for VicPD. “They are wrong. Officers are arresting and recommending charges, which can have significant and negative life-long impacts.”
On May 6, VicPD provided four examples of calls officers responded to including:
- A caller reported a group of 100 youth in the Government and Douglas area jumping on car roofs, kicking car doors, and damaging transit signs.
- A couple who was “swarmed” by a group of 20 youths in the 900-block of Douglas Street and randomly attacked with the youths grabbing one of them by the throat and hitting her, while beating and kicking the other member of the couple.
- In the Douglas Street and Pandora Avenue area youths surrounded and harassed two unhoused people and one of the unhoused people struck one of the youth in the face with a flashlight then fled.
- In the View and Douglas streets intersection officers were flagged down and found a female youth laying in the roadway with hand injuries who had been part of a group that swarmed and assaulted two people. The victims were able to flee to a vehicle, which the group surrounded and started hitting the vehicle causing significant damage.
On April 25, officers responded to a call where a business owner was swarmed and sprayed with bear spray when youths began fighting outside his store in the 1100-block of Douglas Street. Youths stole knives from his store after the owner was sprayed.
On April 23, a 70-year-old man was swarmed by a group of 25 youths in the 1200-block of Douglas Street, then attacked by five or six of the youths. The man suffered serious but non-life-threatening injuries.
On April 22, officers responded to a call of youths assaulting each other with bear spray in the 1300-block of Douglas Street. When the youths were arrested, a group of 13 surrounded the arresting officer in an attempt to prevent the arrest.
VicPD says officers are working with regional partners to engage with the youths and their families to prevent future incidents.
If you see a group assaulting people or damaging property, you are asked to call 911. If you have any information about these incidents, you are asked to call the VicPD Report Desk at (250) 995-7654 ext1.