Vancouver police say that in July and August, there was a "45 percent increase in serious assaults and assaults with weapons" in the area around the Hastings Street encampment compared to the same time last year.
One of the most recent incidents involved an "altercation" between two men in the lane behind the Carnegie Centre.
A bystander called the VPD early Saturday (September 17). It turned out that allegedly, a resident of the homeless camp had been threatened with a loaded gun.
“People without homes are already far more likely to become victims of violent crime than those who have stable housing, and those risks increase for people living in and around encampments,” Sgt. Steve Addison said in a VPD news release. “This incident underscores the dangers facing vulnerable people – especially those living on the streets in the Downtown Eastside.”
A suspect was later arrested in Chinatown.
Luis Alfredo Gaitan-Tijerino, 33, faces five charges:
- Possession of a Weapon
- Uttering threats to cause death or bodily harm
- Using a firearm during the commission of an indictable offence
- Unauthorized possession of a loaded firearm
None of the allegations against him have been proven in court.