Temporary homeless shelters, encampments account for 60% of high-priority calls to Victoria police
Police respond to a temporary housing facility in downtown Victoria. (CTV News)
VICTORIA -- Temporary homeless shelters and encampments were responsible for the majority of high-priority calls to Victoria police in the latter half of last year.
The Victoria Police Department says 60 per cent of all priority-one and priority-two calls to police between June and November were for assistance at temporary shelters, including park encampments and hotels housing the homeless during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In total, 4,384 high-priority calls to police originated from 13 sites sheltering the homeless between June and November.
Priority-one calls are for the most serious emergency responses, including for crimes like assaults, abductions, robberies and shootings.
Priority-two calls include crimes such as residential break-ins in progress.
The City of Victoria and the province have struggled to move the city’s homeless population into more stable housing since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
Makeshift encampments have been erected in city parks and along downtown streets while vacant hotels and motels have been repurposed as temporary shelters.
Last week, the city moved forward with a preliminary plan to construct a shipping-container village in Royal Athletic Park.
The city and the province have committed to moving homeless people into stable indoor housing by the end of March.