Meeting comes after Vancouver police Chief Adam Palmer warns of a “surge in violent street crime”

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The mayor of Vancouver has called a special council meeting this Thursday to hear about public safety and violent crime in the city.

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According to a memorandum from Mayor Kennedy Stewart to key city staffers, council passed a motion on March 30 calling for the special meeting to hear from delegations representing residents, businesses and communities “in order to understand concerns related to public safety and violent crime citywide.”

Stewart has set that date for April 28 at 6 pm

Members of the public are invited to register to speak at the event that will be streamed online

Council will first hear from the city’s Homeless Outreach Team, Streets and Sanitation, the Vancouver Police Department and the Vancouver park board — each with around five minutes to talk.

Following this, representatives from the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade, Vancouver Aboriginal Community Policing Centre, Destination Vancouver, Vancouver Chinatown Merchants Association, Collingwood Community Policing Centre, West End Business Improvement Association and the Union Gospel Mission will speak — each for about seven minutes.

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Councilors can then ask questions for an hour and then public speakers can talk for around an hour and a half.

Following this, city staff will work with the Vancouver Police Department to come up with a plan by June 2022 “to address public safety concerns and issues.”

With a municipal election coming in six months, crime is likely to be brought up as a way for council and mayoral candidates to win votes.

Stewart and his supporters on council were rebuffed last month by the provincial government that ordered the city’s planned reduction in funding to the Vancouver Police Department of 5.7 million to be reversed.

Following the win, Vancouver police Chief Adam Palmer said the city was facing an unprecedented number of protests and a “surge in violent street crime”.

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Stewart said the cuts were imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic when many city services were being reduced.

In recent years, the police department has accounted for about a fifth of the total City of Vancouver operating budget, which last year was $1.6 billion.

According to latest VPD crime statisticsin the first three months of this year there were two murders, 125 sexual offenses, 1,113 assaults and 158 robberies.

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