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What is a 'public safety trailer' and why is one parked in South Vancouver?

VPD has set up cameras in a Vancouver neighbourhood.
Vancouver police have set up a 'public safety trailer' with cameras in Vancouver.

A seemingly ordinary residential side street near Langara College got a new temporary fixture this week. 

The Vancouver Police Department announced in a recent Tweet that they have erected a "public safety trailer" near West 48th Avenue and Manitoba Street as part of an "ongoing criminal investigation."

The trailer consists of a tall pole with four cameras pointing in either direction which VPD says is meant to "deter crime and maintain public safety." They assure that the cameras are not being used for active surveillance but warn that recordings may be reviewed in the event a crime occurs.

The VPD won't share any additional information about the purpose of the trailer or the details of their investigation but Constable Tania Visintin tells V.I.A. over email that police "use the trailer and cameras on rare occasions to deter crime and protect the public."

In the past, the trailer has been deployed in Chinatown, around Oppenheimer Park, in the Downtown core, and in places where gang activity has occurred, according to the VPD.

"We believe it is important to inform the community when the trailer and cameras are deployed," says Visintin.

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