The peaceful protest of the Abbotsford Chapter of the BC/Yukon Drug War Survivors (DWS) in Jubilee Park in Abbotsford was interrupted Wednesday by up to 11 police cars from different departments which suddenly appeared at the park.
It turned out to have nothing to do with those living at the park but involved an incident involving a stolen purse and a suspect who ran into the park.
Cst.Paul Walker, Public Information Officer for the Abbotsford Police Department (APD) told Today Media this afternoon, “Yesterday afternoon the APD received a report of a theft in progress where a sixty two year old women had her purse stolen near a bank in the downtown. The suspect had fled the area and ran into the park. At this time the file is still under investigation.”
Today received the report from the Abbotsford DWS who were concerned about what they describe as an increased presence at the camp by police officers in recent days and said they were a little concerned with the sudden appearance of so many police cars.
When asked about the size of the response – 11 cars for a purse snatching – Cst. Walker said, “The original call came into APD as a female being robbed at an ATM with a suspect fleeing the scene on foot. The amount of resources deployed on the onset was the result of it being called in this way. The multi-jurisdictional presence is the result of us and the RCMP sharing the use of our dog section. In this case an RCMP dog handler was in the area at the time of the call.”
“The APD has been attending Jubilee Park periodically since the creation of overnight camping. Our visits have been to provide public safety to the residents of the park as well, to ensure on many fronts that fire & health concerns are being met,” said Cst. Walker.
In addition, DWS representatives are concerned that the City of Abbotsford has not been around to pick up the garbage in a week to ten days. DWS originally asked for garbage bags because of their commitment to keep the park clean and the City agreed to provide them. The DWS say they are concerned that the garbage bags keep piling up and, if the City isn’t going to pick up the garbage they are going to have to look at other alternatives.
Today has asked the City of Abbotsford about the garbage but, as of Thursday had not heard back.
Barry Shantz, speaking for the DWS commended the police for the way they handled the purse snatching situation although he expressed concern about the number of police cars which were mobile and active in the area.
“It seems like an unusually large number of cars to be in the area, but the police conducted themselves professionally in this instance, and they have been communicating very effectively with us so far. As long as the communication lines are open and clear we can keep working things out as they come up.”
Cover photo by Bas Stevens