Vancouver police are reporting a busy, noisy and violent Halloween weekend

Fights, assaults, arson and murder: “We were challenged with the large number of calls we responded to,” VPD-sgt said. Steve Addison.

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It was a frighteningly busy Halloween for Vancouver police, who are investigating dozens of violent crimes out of more than 4,500 calls to police that poured in over the weekend.

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Sgt. Steve Addison of the Vancouver Police Department said thousands of people came to Vancouver to party during one of the busiest periods in downtown since the pandemic began, resulting in arrests for fights, public intoxication and reports of groping and assault.

Police received 4,550 inquiries about service over the Halloween weekend. Of that, more than half was placed at 911, a 10 percent increase in calls compared to the same period last year.

Officers arrested more than 110 people between Friday night and Monday morning, including 82 for criminal acts and 30 for public intoxication or breach of the peace. At least five people reported being sexually assaulted, while four police officers were assaulted.

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“We were challenged with the large number of calls we responded to,” Addison told reporters at a news briefing Monday.

The police department had expected the weekend to be busy and assigned more than 215 extra officers, but was still stretched out due to the number of incidents, which included a murder and fire cases, Addison said.

On the night before Sunday, three vehicles were set on fire in what police believe were purposefully set on fire. Two cars were set on fire near Prince Edward Street and East 26th Avenue shortly before 1 a.m. Monday morning, followed by a car parked near Victoria Drive and E. 54th Ave. less than two hours later.

Addison said police are investigating whether these arson attacks are linked to the gang war on the lower mainland, as burning stolen vehicles used for crime is common to gangsters and their employees.

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These priority calls meant that police were unable to process complaints about fireworks that lit up many neighborhoods, despite a municipal fireworks ban.

“On a weekend as busy as we’ve just been through … unfortunately we do not have the luxury of being able to follow up on the dozens, if not hundreds, of fireworks complaints that people have,” Addison said, adding that police’s priority is security and it will investigate whether the use of fireworks has resulted in a criminal offense.

Among the serious incidents that took place over the Halloween weekend is the city’s 14th killing.

Saturday night, a man was killed and two people injured when a vehicle crashed into a rollover collision on Fraser St. and E. 55th Ave. after a confrontation with people in another car. Investigators have not said how the man died.

Police are also investigating a collision Saturday that left a 66-year-old woman dead. The woman was hit by a silver Acura TL near Broadway and Commercial Drive. A 30-year-old Surrey man has been arrested. Speed ​​and alcohol are thought to be factors.

Officers were also tied to seven protests that took place over the weekend in Vancouver, including a protest by Extinction Rebellion activists that closed the intersection between Burrard Street and Pacific Avenue for several hours Friday afternoon. Five people were arrested.

chchan@postmedia.com

twitter.com/cherylchan

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