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Man who says he was victim of a second hate crime wants Vancouver to boost safety measures

Last Updated Jan 10, 2021 at 2:46 pm PDT

Downtown Vancouver as seen from the News1130 Air Patrol on Dec 23, 2020 (Riley Phillips, NEWS 1130 photo)
Summary

The victim of alleged hate-motivated violence is asking the city to take an active role in upping safety measures

Eddy Elmer is calling on the city to do more to keep marginalized groups safe by improving street lighting

Elmer says he's disturbed by the uptick in hate crimes

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — The victim of apparent anti-LGBTQ+ and anti-Semitic attacks in Downtown Vancouver is asking the city to do more to help prevent this type of violence.

Eddy Elmer was walking in the area of West Georgia and Burrard streets on Friday night when a man suddenly yelled anti-Semitic slurs, tried to hit him in the head and hit his leg.

But this isn’t the first time Elmer has felt unsafe in the downtown area, “And that just kind of shows how brazen the attacks have become.”

Last year Elmer was out on a walk when someone yelled homophobic slurs at him and threatened to shoot him in the head.

“Fortunately, he went away. I was able to call police and provide a description, and he was arrested,” he says.

“That was a really shocking incident for me because nothing like that happens in that neighbourhood in the 20 years that I’ve lived in this area. I’ve never felt unsafe especially walking in that area — so that was a shock,” he says.


Elmer says he’s shaken by the violence, and as part of the 2SLGBTQ+ Advisory Committee, he put forward a motion to improve street lighting and help make the streets safer for minorities.

Since Elmer has shared his experiences of discrimination in Vancouver, people online have questioned the uptick in reported hate crime he claims there is. But he says he’s not the only one in the city that feels unsafe. He explains his friends and neighbours have also been experiencing similar incidents throughout the downtown core.

“This is not my area of research, but I can speak … as an individual resident who walks around the city on a regular basis. I have seen with my own eyes a dramatic change in the city on the streets — beginning early last year, coinciding with the pandemic,” Elmer says.

“I’ve noticed a dramatic increase in street disorder. I’ve been harassed by people and I see other people regularly being harassed.”

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Elmer says if the city were to take a proactive approach to improve street lighting, it will help minority groups like people with disabilities, women and members of the LGBTQ+ community.

“The big issue remains that the city seems to be depending on citizens to report these problems and we would really like city staff to take some responsibility as well because you can’t rely on citizens … Citizens are not likely to report if there are lights out in a park. Citizens just assume that it’s the city’s job to fix those things and they don’t need to report them. So we really think that there can be some improvement with regard to street lighting.”

In the meantime, Elmer reminding people if you have a light that’s burned out in your neighbourhood call 311, or ask maintenance worker in the area to make a note of lights that are burnt out so they can send your tip to the appropriate staff.

When it comes to Friday’s attack Vancouver police have made an arrest and tell NEWS 1130 the suspect was taken to jail for an outstanding warrant.

VPD hate crimes section is reviewing the file.