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April 21, 2015

Safety in Vancouver

While Vancouver is a relatively safe city to visit, street smarts matter here as much as anywhere else in the world.  Crimes that are common in Vancouver are car break-ins, even in the most secure garages. For this reason never leaves valuables in your car, or if you must ensure they are hidden. If your car is broken into report it to the police immediately @ 604-717-3535. It is unlikely that you will get your belongings back, however it is important for police to have record of the crime and you may need it for insurance purposes. If your wallet is stolen cancel credit cards immediately for it is very easy to use stolen cards at any convenience store.

The areas near the intersection of East Hastings and Main Street have a rougher urban feel which makes most visitors and locals feel quite uneasy. While you are not in danger, it is best to avoid this area unless you are open to viewing some of Vancouver’s major social urban issues first hand. Heavy open drug use, prostitution, mental illness and homelessness are most prevalent in this downtown eastside area.  You may be asked for money or food, however pick-pocketing or mugging is very rare in Vancouver, even in these tougher neighbourhoods.

If someone off the street offers to sell you their old, but valid parking or bus tickets be weary, and if you have any doubt always decline the offer. From time-to-time there may be someone from the streets offering to help you buy a parking ticket; they may tell you the payment did not go through and keep your valid ticket in an attempt to sell it to someone else.

The downtown area has a large homeless population which often pan-handles for a few coins. Giving the homeless food rather than money, or donating to a charity is often a better option than giving coins.

Squeegee kids typically work at major intersections by offering to clean car windows while a driver waits for a green light. If you accept such an offer .25 -.50 cents or some food is sufficient as payment. If you prefer to decline the offer, politely shake your head and avoid further eye contact to ensure your decline has been properly communicated. If your window is cleaned without your consent, do not feel obligated to pay. Politely tell the Squeegee kid that you did not need your window cleaned – they are normally understanding of this so do not feel intimidated.


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