Vancouver police say they are trying to determine who is responsible for leaflets distributed on the Downtown Eastside threatening to burn homeless people’s tents as well as Insite, a supervised injection site.
Pictures of the threatening flyers, allowing homeless people to leave the neighborhood for seven days, went viral Monday on social media.
“We are working to identify the individual or people responsible for these messages, which understandably cause fear and anxiety in the Downtown Eastside,” said Sgt. Steve Addison said in an emailed statement.
“Until we know more, we ask everyone to stay vigilant, watch out for their neighbors and report suspicious activity.”
The advert said the Insite would be “the first building to burn down.”
Police are asking anyone with information to come forward.
Threats, violence ‘another day in your life’
Trey Helton, a manager at the Association for Overdose Prevention, which provides supervised consumption services and other harm reduction efforts, said he has heard from people in the community that the leaflets distributed over the weekend.
He said that though it’s saddening to see homeless people in Vancouver so often threatened and acted violently.
He says he’s been through it himself, having been homeless and drug addicts in the past.
“Sleeping in the alleys of Granville, I would have people come and try to kick me in the face or beat me often just because they considered me an unworthy citizen,” Helton said.
“The reality of it is that people who are homeless and are dealing with mental illness or who are dealing with a substance use disorder, deal with this all too often. And it can often be Getting excited is just another day in your life.”
Helton says there needs to be more love and compassion for the homeless.
“It could happen to you, it could happen to one of your family members, whoever you are.”
The mayor replied
Vancouver Coastal Health, which operates Insite in partnership with the Portland Hotel Association, said it is aware of the threats to both residents of the area and their premises.
“VCH takes a zero-tolerance approach to any threat to the safety of our employees or customers who access services in our healthcare facilities. “, the health authority said in an email.
“Since many of our clients who use drugs also live with trauma and mental health concerns, it is paramount that they feel safe, secure and unjudged when they are exposed to drugs. access to essential health care services, including harm reduction services.”
On Twitter, Mayor Kennedy Stewart called the letters “reprehensible” and repeated his call for those with information to continue.
I got this from @JenStDen today.
Those who aren’t used to living on Hastings deserve our support, friendship & amp; compassion.
This is deplorable & amp; will not be tolerated. Those involved will be considered to the fullest extent of the law.
The letters come at a tense time in the Downtown Eastside.
Crime and disruptive behavior in Vancouver – or at least the perception of them – is getting a lot of attention in the press and social media. With the city elections coming up in October, several candidates have made these issues a focus of their campaigns.
Last week, Some tents began to be lowered on Hastings Street, where a large number of homeless people had to follow orders from the fire chief to demolish their makeshift homes because of fire safety concerns. However, no one can provide housing for the people who live there.
Last month in Langley, four homeless or formerly homeless people were shot, Two people died, in an hour-long shootout that ended with police shooting the alleged gunman.
A short time later, a woman deliberately set fire while she sat on the sidewalk in Downtown Eastside.
Pointless attacks shakes the community and its supporters and ask them to ask what action would be taken to make homeless people less vulnerable.