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'This is appalling': Vancouverites react to violent crime spree in Fairview neighbourhood

"It’s clear that Vancouver‘s current approaches to crime and mental health aren’t working."
Vancouver, BC residents are expressing frustration and fear following a violent crime spree in the Fairview neighbourhood on February 26, 2022.

Vancouverites are expressing frustration and fear following a violent crime spree in the Fairview neighbourhood over the weekend. 

Concerned residents of the neighbourhood have taken to social media following news that a man allegedly smashed windows, chased people and violently assaulted at least one woman on Saturday (Feb. 26). 

Cole Stanley Martin, 38, is facing multiple charges after the series of attacks, which the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) has described as a "40-minute crime spree." 

The first incident occurred around noon when Martin, who may have been in a state of psychosis, was smashing glass at Oak Street and West Broadway near Vancouver General Hospital, according to a police press release. He went on to threaten or attack at least five people.

The VPD's victim services team is working with all of the victims identified so far to deal with the emotional trauma from the string of attacks. But Const. Tania Vistintin said there are likely other victims and witnesses that fled out of fear before officers arrived at the scene. 

After the string of violent events, many locals have called on the city to reevaluate its current approach to crime, with many of them remarking that more enforcement officers, mental health workers, and further action are needed to rectify the issue. 

In the Fairview Facebook Community Group on Facebook, Karen McRae asks, "How will they protect the citizens when there is a population explosion. I’m in Fairview where it is no longer safe to walk alone. Random assaults, car jacking, humans with addiction and mental health concerns.

"Instead of all the developers coming in, we should focus more on making safe neighbourhoods. Solving the opioid crisis, and putting more money into mental health care facilities. Oh sorry, they won’t get as much tax revenue. CoV should be ashamed of themselves. Yes we need affordable housing. But we need to clean up our own backyards first."

City councillor Melissa De Genova bullet-pointed a few of the incidents that allegedly took place during the 40-minute crime spree, noting that these types of incidents should not happen in Vancouver. 

Numerous Vancouverites have also taken to Twitter to share their thoughts about the string of attacks. Several people ask what Mayor Kennedy Stewart, police and local government officials are doing in response. 

One individual questioned why Martin was reportedly able to continue his violent spree for a staggering 40 minutes.

Three Vancouver city councillors who are expected to align as a trio in the October municipal election are hosting a virtual forum on public safety Thursday to hear from residents concerned about crime in their neighbourhoods.

With files from Brendan Kergin and Mike Howell. 

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