Living on the Island, many come to think of it as a distinct entity, separate from the happenings and kafuffle of the Lower Mainland. In 2013, Victoria set itself apart yet again in a dramatic way. According to the Vancouver Island Integrated Major Crime Unit, the Capital Regional District (CRD) boasted zero homicides in 2013, something that had not occurred in over a decade. However, this statistic could prove false due to a pending investigation, according to the Victoria Police Department. A male assault victim died several weeks after an altercation in May 2013, which could potentially de-legitimize Victoria’s homicide-free year.
This one pending homicide in the CRD, compares to 53 in the Lower Mainland. While Victoria’s population is much smaller than Vancouver’s, Victoria also lacks the evident gang activity (aside from some past Hell’s Angels activity) that exists a mere 90 kilometres away around Vancouver, particularly in areas such as Surrey. The Province has recently published a number of reports on the abnormally high murder rate of Surrey, which in 2013 doubled Canada’s national average.
In Michael Moore’s 2002 documentary “Bowling for Columbine,” he noted violent crimes as a whole in Canada were on the decline according to Statistics Canada. Moore suggests a pervasive “Canadianness“ that keeps everyone’s fingers off the trigger (except, of course, in Surrey).
Yet 2013 was not entirely without criminal violence in Victoria. Dennis Grant Fletcher, on the morning of Feb. 25, 2013, opened fire with a semi-automatic pistol in front of popular downtown club 9one9, wounding two doormen. Both survived and Fletcher was arrested shortly after, thanks in part to the community and the work of the local authorities.
On New Year’s Day 2014, according to a National Post report, Victoria PD responded to 130 calls, including stabbings, fights, an individual threatening to “slice someone’s throat“ and, perhaps most notably, a man wandering into an apartment building with a machete.