VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — It was a busy Halloween night for Vancouver Police, as they were left to deal with hundreds of people who ignored COVID protocols to party on Granville Street.
Constable Tania Visintin says police were struggling to deal with a massive crowd that had gathered at Granville, with many not wearing masks or social distancing.
“It was very disappointing to see the number of people congregating along Granville street on Halloween despite the recommendations of our Provincial Health Officer,” she says.
“The crowd size was exceptionally larger than what would be expected during a pandemic.”
While additional resources were brought in from around the city, Visintin says the large crowd was hostile to officers and because of that no social distancing tickets were issued.
“It would have not been a safe or an efficient use of the available police resources at the time,” she says.
“It is important to note that police must consider officer and public safety. When deciding on possible enforcement options.”
Visintin says officers on Granville Street described the crowd as “very alcohol-fueled and irrational.”
She adds at one point, officers who were responding to a traffic stop on the Granville strip were swarmed by a group of 30 people and were forced to call for backup.
“Officers noted the passengers in the vehicle were out of their seats, and they were sitting on the sides of their windows, as the vehicle was in motion when officers conducted the vehicle stop the passengers got out of their vehicle and swarmed the members,” Visintin explains.
“As officers were responding to the swarming, one man jumped on the hood of the police vehicle in an attempt to provoke the crowd. This man was arrested for breach of the peace and taken to jail.”
During the night, a police vehicle had its passenger side window was smashed, but no arrests have been made in connection to that incident.
Visintin told reporters on Vancouver Police received more than 800 calls on Halloween – with most calls for help made from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. the next day, and included calls for arson, fights, and several stabbings.
“A new call was generated every one minute and 11 seconds between 7 p.m. On October 31st and 5 a.m. on November 1,” she says. “By comparison, typically new a new police call is generated every two minutes and 16 seconds.