Downtown VicPD’s weekend response results in the arrest of eight youths

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Victoria Police said eight young people were arrested over the weekend as officers responded to growing concerns about youth violence in the city centre.

VicPD previously said officers were responding to an increased number of weekend calls from young people across the region coming downtown and drinking and disrupting.

Last weekend, six youths were arrested for breach of terms, vandalism, possession of weapons and public intoxication.

Three of the six also required medical treatment for alcohol and drug intoxication. Some of the youths arrested were released on condition that they not travel to downtown Victoria.

In one incident, a scooter was damaged in Bastion Square and the scooter needed several hundred dollars worth of repairs, including a shattered windshield and bodily damage.

There have been no reports of injuries from incidents involving young people.

“I have never seen in the past young people come downtown, gather in groups of sometimes up to fifty people or more, consume alcohol or drugs, and then commit this level of violence and vandalism,” said VicPD Community Services Division Const. said Mark Jenkins. “These were back-to-back calls from the public during our Friday night deployment.”

Mia Golden, counselor for the youth mobile services team, said these acts could come from teenagers who have spent the past few years in isolation and boredom from COVID-19.

“They’ve had three years of high stress, so we see them dealing with extremes, including drugs, alcohol and violence,” Golden said.

Golden said young people are naturally drawn to a sense of belonging and adventure, which makes situations like these violent acts fun and exciting. She added that more youth-focused infrastructure in Victoria and surrounding towns could help.

“We could definitely use more skate parks, we could have fewer barriers to activities that young people could access,” Golden said. “We don’t really have big adrenaline type activities for kids. We don’t have things like other cities like West Edmonton Mall or Wonderland Parks.

She said there are resources available for young people like drop-in centers and recreation centers, adding that teens might also find other activities that interest them like art, music or sports.

VicPD will be back at key locations this weekend.

If you see a group assaulting someone or damaging property, you are urged to call 911. If you have any information about these incidents, you are urged to call the VicPD Reporting Office at (250) 995-7654 ext. 1.

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