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Aggressive begging/drug dealing

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Aggressive begging/drug dealing

As some fellow posters may know we are back in Vancouver in November repeating last year's 2 week vacation because we loved the city so much. I regular use Google's news section to keep an eye out for stories in Vancouver.

A recent article in several Canadian publications laments the dramatic increase in aggressive begging and drug dealing with examples happening in the Fairmont Hotel of all places and the steady encroachment into the Downtown areas including the Cruise Terminal.

Have things really got this bad inside 12 months? We are not naive but this does seem slightly disturbing.

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1. Re: Aggressive begging/drug dealing

I am in Vancouver about every 3-4 months for a few days at a time, and I stay on Hornby just off Davie. Quite honestly I cannot say that I have noticed any great shift in the amount of begging anywhere that I go. I usually get over to West 4th, Granville Island, Robson and area, Davie and Denman as well as the beaches along English Bay, and then Commercial Drive and Main Street. I have never seen any aggressive begging in all my years of regular trips to Vancouver. Last year I noticed that there were some quite aggressive car windshield washers right in front of the Sheraton Wall Centre, but last month when I was there I noticed that they were gone.

My experiences may be atypical, but the city seems to me to be about the same as always.

There are places that sometimes have a fair number of homeless hanging about, but often there is a good reason for that. For example, there are many that queue up on the corner of Davie and Hornby around supper time. I never knew why until one evening I noticed that there is a woman on a scooter with a little trailer who distributes sandwiches and food. What at first seemed a bit odd is completely explained by the fact that someone is generously feeding homeless folks. It took me awhile to figure that out, so I can only imagine that if one is new to the city (which you are not, of course) it would be easy to form the impression that there are groups of homeless beggars on the street corners.

The only place that I have ever encountered aggressive beggars in Canada is in Victoria and right on Government Street in the centre. On more than one occasion on separate trips I was shouted at for not donating some spare change. That was about 10 years ago.

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2. Re: Aggressive begging/drug dealing

Rather than a sudden dramatic increase, I would say that the rise in aggressive panhandling has been more gradual; both in its frequency and geographic extent. The recent article will hopefully force the City to address this issue, as we become more and more in the world tourism spotlight as we approach 2010.

Just as the problem has many sources and has increased in magnitude over many years, so will it take many resources and much time to improve the situation.

Canada
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3. Re: Aggressive begging/drug dealing

Ah the media loves to paint a certain picture and the more dramatic the better. Yes there are lots of panhandlers around these days - the weather is great and there is a noticeable increase in good weather - people come from other places to panhandle here - lots of tourist etc. Are they really aggressive - well I live here and have all my life- I see the panhandlers around town and have only encountered one aggressive panhandler - this was about 5 years ago - he was actually arrested a few times and finally moved on.

I rather doubt you will see many panhandlers in November - a little too wet and cold to be hanging around at that point - yes there are some but not in the numbers we see right now. Also take what the media portrays with a grain of salt- they really do slant the stories to suit whatever drama makes them happy on a slow news day.

Vancouver
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4. Re: Aggressive begging/drug dealing

I agree with hereandtherelife - I wonder what people mean by 'agressive'. Does someone asking you for change, rather than just sitting there with a cup or hat, make them agressive? Most people just sit there, some sit there and ask you as you walk past, and a small % actually walk right up to you and ask for change. The % that would actually continue to speak to you after you say "Sorry" or "No" is miniscule.

I don't think much has changed in the last 12 months - though your perspective on it will be interesting. If something has changed, it has been gradual enough that I haven't noticed - post back and let us know if things seem different to you.

5. Re: Aggressive begging/drug dealing

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Vancouver-by-the-Sea
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6. Re: Aggressive begging/drug dealing

There's a line of thought here that this story-and a few others- are 'plants' bought/paid for by political forces set to change the street scape before the 2010 Olympics.

To my mind it fits perfectly with the way this place is run and I expect 'incidents' to occur more frequently complete with outraged politicians spluttering on TV about the need to 'make our community safe again'.

Notta heckuva lotta imagination in this place sometime.

You heard it here first!

Westcoast_Girl
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7. Re: Aggressive begging/drug dealing

That's an interesting thought, SamSalmon, one I never pondered. Regardless, I would have to say DON'T WORRY AT ALL!!! I have lived here all my life and never been approached by an aggressive panhandler. Yes, they are there. Yes, they are sometimes smelly or sick looking or pitiful, but they are not out to get you or hurt you, in my experience. And yes, summer weather brings more out to BC in general.

Don't be worried in the least - honest.

Vancouver, Canada
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8. Re: Aggressive begging/drug dealing

Until we get some politicians in City Hall with some guts, nothing will change. I lived and worked in the West End for 5 years, and I would be asked for change approximately 10-15 times a day, walking to and from work. So I figure on average, over 3800 times in one year. Needless to say, I moved.

Now my visits to downtown are less frequent , but the number of beggars has increased. In regards to "agressive", it means threatening gestures and language, someone telling you to "Go %$@#! yourself" if you don't hand over some change.

Sorry to say folks, the great weather, great social assistance and laissez-faire atttiude of Vancouverites, make this a prime begging mecca.

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9. Re: Aggressive begging/drug dealing

I recieve a lot more threatening gestures from drivers on the road than I do homeless people. Now that's agression!

North Vancouver...
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10. Re: Aggressive begging/drug dealing

I have to agree with Ross. It seems a lot of posters here are in denial that Vancouver has a serious problem with panhandlers/homeless people/drug addicts. I was in New York last week and even late at night we only saw one person sleeping in a doorway. Can't say that about downtown Vancouver!

We recently had guests from the UK and they were shocked at the number of homeless people here. I've heard similar comments from many visitors in the last couple of years.

Having said that, most street people are harmless but I think it's time the city got some guts and moved to clean things up.

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