Home > AHA Media, Homelessness, PIVOT Legal, Street Posters, Vancouver, Westside > PIVOT Legal Newswire – Call 911 on “beggars, says VPD

PIVOT Legal Newswire – Call 911 on “beggars, says VPD


Call 911 on “beggars”, says VPD

Vancouver, April 23, 2009The Vancouver Police Department is instructing Dunbar residents to call 911 whenever they see “beggars” on Dunbar Street. 

“The Vancouver Police Department has instructed Dunbar Community Patrollers to call 911 when they see beggars on Dunbar Street and I would urge you to do so too,” wrote Linda MacAdam, Chair of the Dunbar Community Patrol, in an email to residents. MacAdam noted that these instructions were confirmed by Sergeant Randy Regush of the Vancouver Police Department.

Vancouver ranked last among 13 North American cities surveyed in terms of police response times, according to a 2007 report to Vancouver city council. The report called for increased funding for police officers to address the slow response times, which for a 911 break and enter call stretch to 34 minutes on average. The current yearly VPD budget is over $195 million, almost one-quarter of the City’s total budget.

“In 2008 Vancouver police spent thousands of hours ticketing Downtown Eastside residents for minor bylaw infractions, and in the West Side they treat legal panhandling as a 911 emergency,” says Laura Track, Pivot’s housing campaign lawyer. “Every year the VPD asks for more funding, but people need to ask if harassing poor people is how they should be spending that money.”

“This is just another example of a broader pattern of criminalizing poverty and restricting poor people’s lawful access to public space.”

“I was shocked to see this message advocating that we call 911 when we see a beggar” syas Randy Puder, a West Side resident. “What a waste of tax money. The homeless need compassion and assistance, not police making their lives even more difficult.”

Pivot’s mandate is to take a strategic approach to social change, using the law to address the root causes that undermine the quality of life of those most on the margins. We believe that everyone, regardless of income, benefits from a healthy and inclusive community where values such as opportunity, respect and equality are strongly rooted in the law.

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678 Hastings Street East

Vancouver, BC V6A 1R1

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Copyright (C) 2008 Pivot All rights reserved.

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