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People of South Vancouver defend against residential crime

After a South Vancouver resident deterred a burglary in-progress the neighbourhood is being lauded by the VPD

Ian Fung re-creates the way he deterred a burglar attempting to steal something out of the back of his neighbour's van. Photo by: Patrick Penner
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Reported by Patrick Penner

An initiative to apprehend a thief by citizens of a South Vancouver neighbourhood is being praised by the Vancouver Police Department in order to promote local Block Watch programs.

In the midst of a rainstorm on Oct. 29, just before 3 a.m., Ian Fung heard a noise outside his house.  He had recently installed security cameras and was able to view the street through an app on his phone.

“There appeared to be someone searching through the back door of [my neighbours] van,” Fung said.  “So, I took my spotlight and I flooded him.”

Protecting private property from pilferers

According to residents of 66th Avenue and Ash Street, the area had been plagued by property crime recently. Fung was one of many residents who fortified their households with security measures which proved instrumental in the suspect’s arrest.

Immediately after calling police, Fung heard sequential alarms being tripped as the suspect fled through several properties and into an alleyway.

A police dog unit arrived within 10 minutes and dragged the handler to a construction site less than 100 metres away where the suspect was found hiding.

“From the moment I called police [to] 45 minutes later, the cops came, dog came, he was caught, surveillance footage was given to them, I gave a statement and I went to sleep,” Fung said.

The house under construction where the suspect was arrested in South Vancouver after being scared off by several other neighbours. Photo by Patrick Penner.

An exemplary instance of residential protection

Fung was one of several well-prepared homeowners who provided security footage to the police.

Sgt. Jason Doucette, VPD’s public affairs officer, considers this incident exemplary of the community effort encouraged through the B.C. Block Watch Society.

“They realized that there was a bit of an issue in the neighbourhood, [and] they implemented crime prevention techniques in their homes,” Doucette said.

According to the VPD’s neighbourhood statistics, Marpole, Oakridge and Sunset had 30 break and enter offences in September 2018.

Doucette said these property crimes are perpetrated by a very small number of prolific offenders.

“You actually see a change in numbers when [they’re] in custody,” he said.

Gabrielle Pelletier, vice-president of the B.C. Block Watch Society, says the program is more necessary now than ever .

“Neighbours knowing neighbours is one of the elements of crime prevention because it raises an awareness about your fellow neighbour,” Pelletier said.  “The program itself is meant to bring neighbours together.”

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