Victoria police campaign clears notorious corner of criminal element

Eleven people charged, missing View Royal teen found

Victoria police beat officers constables Chris Gilbert

Victoria police have taken back the corner of Douglas and View streets from a crowd of young people who officers say could be seen openly smoking and selling marijuana.

During a recent six-week crackdown, patrol, Focused Enforcement Team and undercover Strike Force Unit officers targeted the 1100- and 1200-blocks of Douglas St., which had become rife with drugs, aggressive panhandling and late-night alcohol-fuelled violence.

Eleven people are facing drug-related charges after they allegedly sold marijuana to undercover officers during the operation.

Panhandlers who frequent the strip were also noticeably absent last Thursday, as uniformed officers spoke to media at the notorious corner.

“We felt we needed to be more assertive and create a bigger presence,” said Insp. Clark Russell, head of the police department’s Community and Operation Support Unit.

“We were seeing an increase (in problems) over the same time frame last year, but it’s not just that,” he said, noting the recent boost in police presence was also in response to intelligence gathered by officers and calls from the public.

“We don’t need stats to decide that some areas need a little more attention than others,” Russell said.

Ken Kelly, general manager of the Downtown Victoria Business Association which represents 1,300 businesses and 710 property owners, voiced his concerns about the troublesome area to police late last year.

“I can’t adequately express our appreciation for the police who respond in the manner that they have,” he said.

One B.C. Transit driver recently asked to return to his Douglas Street bus route now that the area has been cleaned up, signalling that police have made progress.

“He had asked to not drive this route because of all the problems that he had been having with the youth and the transient people that are coming on and off the bus – the ones who aren’t very respectful (and) causing fights,” said Focused Enforcement Team member Const. Chris Gilbert.

With summer around the corner and tourist season about to begin, it was important to nip the problem street corner in the bud, he said.

“It’s like vagabond centre and it only gets worse in the summer. So if we don’t get a handle on it now, then we set a precedent for the summertime.”

emccracken@vicnews.com

Notable police cases:

April 24, 2012: A missing 13-year-old View Royal girl is found by police in the 1200-block of Douglas St. associating with a 22-year-old Quebec man.

March 3, 2012: One man is stabbed in the back by another man outside the McDonald’s restaurant at the corner of Douglas and View streets. Police say the men are known marijuana dealers and the altercation was over a woman.

Nov. 26, 2011: Tyler Noble, 20, of Shawnigan Lake, dies from injuries he suffered after he was allegedly assaulted at the corner of Douglas and View streets. Brandon Huth, 24, of Victoria, was charged with manslaughter. His case is now moving through the courts.

Just Posted

Rifflandia Festival cancelled for 2019

Early Bird tickets can be refunded at point of purchase, or held and redeemed for 2020

New virgin queen headlines ‘Bee Day’ at Saanich sanctuary

Taste bee spit and check out the hive at Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary this Sunday

Several hundred SD 62 students team up to clean the shoreline

Effort aimed at keeping Esquimalt and Albert Head Lagoon trash-free

Saanich’s Falcon Gymnastics finish season with three titles at own tournament

Club hosted the 37th annual Garden City Invitational over May long weekend to wrap up season

Hills to Shore artists open gardens, studios to public

Annual home artist tour visits 11 locations May 25 and 26

VIDEO: Canadian, U.S. Coast guards run oil spill response drills

20 vessels were on the water to practice international response methods

POLL: Were you satisfied with the Game of Thrones series finale?

Millions gathered in front of their televisions Sunday night to watch the… Continue reading

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of May 21

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Young Victoria distillery earns prestigious Scotch awards

Scottish influences range from techniques to ‘kilted tours’ at award-winning business

Municipalities protest after B.C. declares marijuana growing ‘farm use’

UBCM president seeks answers in letter to John Horgan government

CMHC defends mortgage stress test changes amid calls for loosening rules

Uninsured borrowers must now show they could service their mortgage if rates rose two per cent

Brewpub offers ‘boat valet’ for paddlers during Surfrider celebration tonight

Free ‘Surf Formal’ evening features a local art auction, door prizes, live music

Thunderstorms to bring heavy rain, risk of flash floods in the southern Interior

Ten to 30 millimetres of rain to fall over the early weekend

Building a close-knit community in Sooke

Knit 2 Purl Together a community event

Most Read