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Increased police presence aims to address safety in downtown New West

New West police take action after string of incidents in the downtown core
Focus on the downtown: The New Westminster Police Department is temporarily redeploying resources to the downtown core in response to a string of concerning crimes in the area. photo Record

One shooting. Two stabbings. Numerous assaults with weapons.

In response to a series of concerning incidents in the past two months, the New Westminster Police Department said it is launching a temporary redeployment plan to address safety in downtown New Westminster. The police department said residents and visitors can anticipate seeing an increased police presence, as well as joint patrols with Metro Vancouver Transit Police, as part of that plan.

“We have seen a number of serious incidents downtown in the last few weeks and we have been hearing from many members of the public and businesses community who have concerns about safety in the area,” said NWPD spokesperson Sgt. Andrew Leaver. “We will be redeploying members to focus on the downtown core to ensure that public safety remains a priority.”

In a press release, the NWPD said members from its Crime Reduction Unit, Road and Traffic Safety Unit, and Gang Suppression Unit will be deployed to the downtown neighbourhood on bikes, on foot and in cars.

“This new deployment model, while temporary, will supplement the work already being done by front line patrol officers and the Community Engagement Unit,” said the news release. “The redeployment plan will be reassessed at the end of May.”

Here’s a look at some of the incidents that have occurred in downtown New West in recent months:

May 1: A man suffers serious but non-life-threatening injuries after being assaulted by two men with weapons. It occurred on Alexander Street about 1:30 a.m. on May 1.

April 18: A man is taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries after being shot in downtown New West. Police say one suspect approached a group of people on Alexander Street, pointed a firearm in their direction, and repeatedly fired at the group before fleeing the area.

April 10: A victim was sent to hospital after being stabbed during an altercation at the Columbia SkyTrain station. Police reported that an altercation took place between two groups inside the SkyTrain station, resulting in the victim being stabbed. One of the suspects fell into the tracks during the altercation.

March 14: A woman suffered several stab wounds in a stabbing on Alexander Street at about 7 p.m. The victim was transported to hospital in serious but stable condition.

Feb. 27: A man was walking towards the New Westminster SkyTrain station at about 9 a.m. when he was punched in the stomach and knocked to the ground by two men he didn’t know. One of the suspects robbed the man of his headphones before both suspects fled the area. The incident occurred near the intersection of Blackie and Carnarvon streets.

In the nearby Quayside neighbourhood, a victim suffered “a deep, non-life-threatening” laceration after being stabbed at Westminster Pier Park on March 14. Police said an altercation had taken place between two groups of youth inside the park, and a suspect assaulted the victim with an edged weapon.