FOLLOWUP: Tsawwassen Mills mall is NOT a magnet for criminals from the Downtown Eastside

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Out of town crime seekers are coming to Tsawwassen Mills, says Delta police Supt. Harj Sidhu. File photo

We recently re-published an article from one of our sister publications, the Delta Optimist, about crime at Tsawwassen Mills mall.

In it, the Delta police Superintendent is quoted as saying “The Mills mall is becoming a crime destination for people from the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver where they are actually targeting and getting onto busses and then coming into the community”.

The article in question was a balanced piece, with a representative from the mall providing quotes and insight that cast into question the police’s characterization of the criminal element coming from a specific area in Vancouver.

Tsawwassen Mills’ general manager Mark Fenwick is quoted as saying “We have hundreds of thousands of people visiting a month and if the Delta police have three or four incidents involving people from Vancouver, I don’t think you can say that is a trend,” said Fenwick. “To me you can draw the conclusion that Deltans are law-abiding citizens, but like any shopping centre or destination shop theft occurs occasionally and having people from Abbotsford, Vancouver or Surrey is no surprise because we draw customers regularly from all those areas.”

The mall is quite obviously becoming a destination for out of town criminals, as well as out of town shoppers. By its very design it’s a massive centre that the small population of Tsawwassen and Delta couldn’t possibly keep in business. Their free shuttles are meant to bring in people from other Lower Mainland municipalities. As with any retail establishment, some of the people who are going there will be shoplifters.

The Optimist‘s original headline for the article we re-published was “Mall becoming crime destination: Delta police”. For our Facebook post sharing it I made it read “Tsawwassen Mills mall becoming destination for Downtown Eastside criminals: police”, because I wanted to first make it relevant for our Vancouver readership, and second grab your attention that the police were saying something like this.

Headline as it appeared on Facebook

The Facebook headline was lambasted as being “horribly biased and totally misleading” by some who saw it and left comments, and I partly agree with them. My personal feeling is that the police’s statement was biased and misleading, and my framing of the article to include their statement was meant to shine a light on that.

As the editor-in-chief of this publication I am held to account for the decisions we make, and the articles we publish. I always assume that our audience is a smart bunch, and my aim is that we always publish for readers who are thoughtful and critical. I apologize if this article came across as us vilifying people from the Downtown Eastside. That was entirely not the intention.

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Bob is our founder and Editor-in-Chief. A family man and outdoors enthusiast in his 3rd decade of publishing, he steers the V.I.A. ship, hosts our 'BC Was Awesome' history TV show and co-hosts our weekly podcast. bobk@vancouverisawesome.com