COPE Vancouver would freeze police budget, cites low crime

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      A COPE council will “red circle” the budget of the Vancouver Police Department.

      “That means we’re freezing it,” Tim Louis of the Coalition of Progressive Electors explained in a phone interview with the Straight.

      Louis is a former chair of city council’s finance committee. He wants a seat again, and he’s one of eight candidates for council fielded by COPE for the November 15 municipal election.

      “This is not going to mean the layoff of VPD officers,” Louis said. “If we red-circle their budget as a percentage of the city’s overall budget, it will shrink year over year.”

      The VPD takes up 20 percent of the city’s $1-billion annual outlay, making it the single biggest departmental expense.

      COPE’s platform calls for returning the police budget to levels before 2008, the year the present ruling Vision Vancouver party came to power. That’s about 17 percent of the city’s total operating budget.

      “In a climate where the crime rate is dropping, it does not make sense to grow further the VPD budget,” Louis said.

      Vision councillor Raymond Louie defended the increases in the police budget that his party oversaw in previous years. “Our citizens need to be kept safe,” Louie told the Straight at Vision’s campaign headquarters. “There’s a reason why Vancouver has the lowest crime rates and we don’t experience some of the challenges that other cities have.”

      The VPD has an operating budget of $221 million this year. Under the then-ruling Non-Partisan Association, the city spent $189 million for policing services in 2007.

      Although crime rates are down, Louie said the city needs a high level of police service because its population is growing. He added that Vancouver also draws people from other municipalities during events.

      Cleta Brown, a council candidate for the Greens, indicated that her party wants to see the entire city-process budget opened up.

      “We wouldn’t come out and say, ‘Oh, the police budget is wrong,’ or ‘The police budget is outrageous,’ because, really, we don’t have sufficient detail about it, and the councillors aren’t given enough information about a lot of areas of city expenditure, including the police department,” Brown told the Straight by phone. “And it’s such an important role that they [police] play that…it would be irresponsible to say, you know, cut it, or irresponsible to say give them whatever they ask for.”



      Unhappy man

      Nov 5, 2014 at 11:03am

      I say increase the budget and enforce the laws on the books. Start at Main and Hastings, and clear the sidewalks of the open selling of drugs, open use of drugs, the open selling of stolen merchandise along the sidewalks. Driving into downtown along Hastings street one is exposed to the dregs of society committing crime in the open. Arrest them, jail them or send them scurrying into shadows like the cockroaches many of them are.

      Mo Money Mo Police Mo Crime

      Nov 5, 2014 at 12:21pm

      Crime is down says Chief Chu. Needs more money for officers mmm maybe the Chief needs to actually walk the streets and visit communities to relate to reality.

      Ever try to report a non emergency crime with the VPD? You have to really be determined to actually get anyone to take the report because their useless website won't let you report it online like they ask you to do, if you actually get anyone at VPD to talk to or don't fall asleep waiting for someone to actually answer the phone.

      Hint to VPD Muzak and inane messages as hold music is not exactly great service.

      Is it any wonder the Chief and his cronies claim crime is down when you can't report ooo say a B&E, vandalism, assault, etc, etc

      What a wonderful, safe, crime free utopia we reside in! I guess our THC addled brains imagine the car break ins, vandalism and open drug trade on the streets These everyday occurances in Lotus Land must be just figments of our over active imaginations.

      More money won't fix policing problems and crime but perhaps actually listening and dealing with crime that actually happens might! Just a thought.


      Nov 5, 2014 at 1:16pm

      Remember how Police Chief Jim Chu beamed about moving into the renovated Vanoc offices because over 93% of VPD employees live outside of Vancouver? Conclusion, 93% of VPD employees live in other cities that they find are cleaner, safer and deliver more value for their tax dollars than the city that pays them. With the COV wanting to borrow 400 million more for the Capital Plan that translates into a further subsidy to COV employees who received above inflation wage increases. A good start to reducing VPD costs would be to eliminate free parking for VPD employees such as the storage facility at 2010 Glen Drive which is directly across from the Clark skytrain station/ # 84 bus and is within 2 blocks of the # 22, 9 and 99 bus-routes and 4 bike-routes. The parking lot should be used to generate income given it's proximity to transit not lose money to solicit campaign contributions from COV unions.

      A bloated bureaucracy, from the bottom up

      Nov 5, 2014 at 8:58pm

      The average cop makes more than $100 000 per year according to the Fraser institute, for what? Chasing pot smokers around and moving street kids along? They certainly don't arrest any serious criminals. Don't forget 60 plus murdered women were plucked from the front door of the cop shop, or within a few blocks of it. Cops have little impact on crime. And most crime is insignificant, drug dealing and minor property crime. I've been b + e'd two times and didn't enjoy it, but I want cop budgets slashed.


      Nov 6, 2014 at 12:42pm

      You know what's cheap policing? 24/7 video surveillance.

      Be careful what you wish for

      Peter Kraftig

      Nov 6, 2014 at 3:52pm

      Okay, lets follow the lead of the city with the lowest police budget per capita.... Surrey. It seems to work for them.

      Our crime is down because we spend money on our police.
      Our policing costs are up because of our bizarre justice system and its demands.

      Time for people to get educated.