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VPD receives more reports of 'suspicious male approaching females' in Mount Pleasant

Citynews 1130 Vancouver

Last Updated Sep 29, 2020 at 12:10 am PDT

(Photo by Dustin Godfrey for NEWS 1130)

The VPD is continuing to receive reports about 'a suspicious male approaching females'

Last week's statement is being criticized for not responding to the concerns of women in the community expressing fear

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — After several incidents in Mount Pleasant of women reporting they have been followed by men, some are critiquing the Vancouver Police Department for claiming there was no risk to the public last week.

Stacey Forrester is the co-founder of Good Night Out Vancouver, a volunteer group that offers street patrols on the Granville Strip to help people protect people form harassment, and to make sure they get home safe.

For Forrester, last Friday’s statement from police saying they had not identified a “risk to public safety” didn’t ring true, given the concerns she was hearing from the community.

“It sort of gives the impression that they don’t think that anything’s going on which is definitely a contrast to what my social media feed is saying. There’s many what seems like similar incidences,” she notes.

Forrester says when people, especially people who are already vulnerable to violence like women and racialized people, are experiencing fear — there is a safety concern.

“Safety is also about a feeling, whether or not crime rates are high,” she notes.

“We shouldn’t wait until it escalates to realize that there’s a problem when there’s people within the community saying I don’t feel safe walking home from work, or home from school or wherever it is. The community should have systems in place to respond to that.”

She notes community-driven initiatives like hers, and a recently launched Safe Walk program in Mount Pleasant focus on prevention.

“Police, often they exist to respond after something has happened.”

On Monday, police took to Twitter to say they are continuing to receive reports “about a suspicious male approaching females.”

It outlines steps police are taking to respond to safety concerns, like stepping up patrols and assigning sex crimes detectives.

With files from Lisa Steacy