The City of Vancouver says its fire department reports a “marked improvement” in safety and sidewalk accessibility along a Downtown Eastside street where a large tent encampment was recently removed.
The city has issued a statement updating its actions related to the dismantling of the Hastings Street encampment on April 5 and 6, and continued sweeps of the area in the following days to ensure campers did not return.
It says Vancouver Fire and Rescue received 27 fewer overdose-related calls during the week of the sweep than during the final week of March, and 82 fewer than it received between March 20-26.
The update also says police have recorded no stabbings or serious assaults in the encampment area since April 5, and there are indications that street-level assaults are declining.
Planning about the camp removal was described in the statement as “discreet” because the city says it had to reduce safety risks to the public and staff, and it says the health authority was “provided information and time to plan for service continuity.”
Of those living in the 94 “entrenched structures” removed from the camp since April 5, Vancouver officials say 18 residents have accepted shelter offers.