Jul 24 2009

Why Are Vancouver Police Ticketing the Downtown Eastside Poor?

The better to get them out of the way when the Olympics come to town.

The Vancouver Sun’s Jeff Lee sums up what’s happening:

What’s the point of issuing tickets with fines of up to $350 to people who have no financial means to pay, or if they did would mean they miss next month’s rent? And why would Vancouver police officers go on such a blitz, issuing homeless people with citations for everything from bicycling without a helmet to jaywalking?

But why assume this is accidental or coincidental when the timing of it points to a strategy?

It’s a very simple strategy and it will probably work. Blitz the downtown eastside, giving homeless people $350 tickets for jaywalking or other minor infractions, which they can’t possibly pay. Continue doing this for a few more month. A week or two before the Olympics begin, start jailing everyone for failing to pay their tickets.

It’s legal. It’s practical. And it will ensure that the tens of thousands of tourists coming to Vancouver for the Olympics will never see what residents and visitors to the Downtown Eastside see the rest of the year.

Do you think this is just a theory or is it really happening? Leave a comment.

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6 responses so far

6 Responses to “Why Are Vancouver Police Ticketing the Downtown Eastside Poor?”

  1. Pissedoffon 24 Jul 2009 at 9:20 am

    The BC government learnt all it knows from the Chinese. Learnt pretty well by the sound of it.

  2. Van Tax Payeron 24 Jul 2009 at 9:53 am

    Yah, well… maybe you do not live near there. Jay-walking is illegal for a good reason. Anything to clean up that pig pen is a great idea! Maybe, some will not return, especially the ones not from Vancouver. No other city would put up with the same situation. I hate getting a pick-up parcel notice, as my post office is there. Needles in the shrubs are nice too. Maybe I might be able to walk downtown safely during the Olympics – that would be a treat.

  3. enkiduon 24 Jul 2009 at 6:24 pm

    If the poor don’t break the law, they won’t get a ticket they can’t afford to pay. It seems pretty simple to me, but then, I’m not a llloonie llleft lllib weenie.

    Is there something wrong with not wanting to inflict ignorant, pushy, smelly vagrants on tourists? Personally, I’m all in favour, just don’t ship the worthless bums to Calgary, we have more than enough of our own:)

  4. Mike Stewarton 27 Jul 2009 at 7:52 am

    Hi Jonathan,

    I like your post.

    My question is this:

    What else can the City and the Police do to get Downtown East residents to follow basic norms of behaviour for their own safety and that of others?

    I live in the Downtown Eastside and when driving in the neighbourhood I am CONSTANTLY having to dodge people walking/running into the middle of the street randomly.

    The Georgia Strait recently published an article on the fact that the Downtown Eastside has the most hotspots for pedestrian injuries from being hit by cars.


    Should the City and the Police not take action on this and let people know its OK to jaywalk and get hit by cars, just because they might be poor?

    I say no and support the City and the VPD’s efforts to keep the neighbourhood safe.

  5. jnarveyon 28 Jul 2009 at 4:08 pm

    Hey Mike. Sorry for the delay (not sure if you’ll see this…).

    Let’s be clear: I’m for law and order.

    But we’re not just talking about jaywalking (which is an offense carried out frequently on Robson St. or Granville St. without penalty). What Jeff Lee was talking about was smacking the poor of the downtown eastside with whatever trumped-up charge would result in a ticket; no-mercy cop behavior that has no corresponding equivalent in other parts of town. One can surmise why this would be the case.

    As for why people might be stumbling around in the middle of the street, I suspect a large number of them are mentally ill. Mental illness is a scourge in the downtown eastside, only exacerbated by the drug problem. If we could have mental health professionals dealing with these people in hospitals, the cops wouldn’t have to deal with them using crude legal methods on the city streets. That’s my solution – hospitals, not jails.

  6. Manety charleyon 14 Apr 2010 at 11:19 am

    I had a ticket days after the beaten I couldnt walk…acussed of jay walking ( i was from the internet at Carnegie to take my bus…I had to jump if not the Police car rool over me and insulting without asking what happenes that you cant walk properly….Nice treatment,,,I live now in Burnaby..But i will leave the province as soon as possible…

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