The City of Victoria has approved more funding for the Victoria Police Department to increase public safety around Topaz Park.
On Thursday, April 23, council allocated $52,500 to VicPD, along with granting city staff up to $100,000 to continue to support vulnerable people.
Police Chief Del Manak said earlier this week the encampments at Topaz Park and Pandora Avenue – where hundreds who once frequented shelters in the area pre-pandemic now live – require more patrol officers to keep people both inside and outside the camps safe.
Since March 5, the police department has reported a more than 100 per cent increase in calls for service near Topaz Park, and a 22 per cent increase in calls for service overall.
Manak said there has been a “severe and serious escalation of crime” around Topaz Park, such as property crime, suspicious person, bike thefts, theft from vehicles and “anything that isn’t locked or bolted down has pretty much been stolen.”
Last week, Rabbi Meir Kaplan of the Chabad Jewish Centre, which serves the community near Topaz Park, said security cameras have recorded numerous burglary attempts, property thefts and break-ins since the camp opened.
— With files from Nina Grossman