Reported sexual assaults by strangers rise sharply in Vancouver in July compared to a year ago

Police responded by relaunching the "Hands off" campaign, which was first unveiled in 2019

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      The unseasonably hot and dry month of July coincided with an enormous percentage rise in reports of sexual assaults to Vancouver police.

      According to spokesperson Const. Tania Visintin, there was a 129 percent increase in these crimes by strangers from July of 2020. 

      “In particular, there has been a 167 per cent increase in sexual assaults related to the Granville Entertainment District when compared to the three year average for the month of July," Visintin added. "This is obviously very concerning.”

      Here are the numbers in a VPD news release:

      * eight unwanted touching (groping) incidents since July 1 related to the Granville Entertainment District;

      * 16 reported stranger assaults in July compared to 10 in July 2020 and seven in July 2019.

      “We know that offences against a person, specifically sexual offences, are vastly underreported,” Visintin said. “Our officers are very alive to the sensitivity around these types of files and will do anything they can to uphold the integrity of the survivor.”

      The VPD has also decided to relaunch its "Hands off" campaign, which was first unveiled in 2019.

      It promotes awareness that groping is a crime.