VicPD seeks witnesses after 15 windows damaged at elementary school
South Park Elementary School in James Bay is shown. Parents at the school say they're concerned over safety at the school: (CTV News)
VICTORIA -- Victoria police are asking for witnesses to come forward after more than a dozen windows at a James Bay elementary school were damaged over the past three weeks.
Police say the first incident was reported on Aug. 6 by a maintenance staff member at South Park Elementary School, located at 508 Douglas St.
At the time, multiple windows appeared to have been damaged by rocks.
Police say that similar incidents were then reported on Aug. 23 and Aug. 30. Over that time, 15 windows had been broken at the school.
Parents with children who attend the school say they have had safety concerns for weeks, and have repeatedly called on the city and school district to address their fears.
"I'm super concerned for the safety of our kids," said Laine Smoley, a mother of two children who attend South Park, on Aug. 13.
About one week later, families at the school said they were cautiously optimistic that a homeless camp that had formed close to South Park would be removed from the area after speaking with city officials.
On Aug. 14, Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps told parents that she understood the concerns being in the school community.
“It has become clear over the past few weeks, with the needles, feces and garbage on school property and all the broken windows — that it is not appropriate to have people camping across from an elementary school,” said Helps in a letter to parents.
After the letter was released, Smoley told CTV News that she thought city’s assurances were “a start.”
“I think our biggest concern would be the timing of the issue,” Smoley said on Aug. 18.
“It’s very time sensitive at this point,” she added, as students are set to return to the school in just over a week.
VicPD says that most of the window-breaking incidents have occurred on weekends or during the evening.
Police are asking for people to keep a lookout on the school moving forward. The James Bay Neighborhood Association and the James Bay VicPD Block Watch team have also been asked to keep an eye on the area.
Anyone with information on the recent window breakings is asked to contact Victoria police at 250-995-7654 or call Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
If you see a crime unfolding, call 911.