45th Anniversary Blog Series Part 3: 2010-2015 – Vancouver Police Foundation
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45th Anniversary Blog Series Part 3: 2010-2015

Building a Safer Vancouver Together

This year we are proud to be celebrating our 45th anniversary. That’s 45 years of serving this great city and supporting the goals of the Vancouver Police Department as they go above and beyond. While we do not fund essential policing services, we do eagerly seek and fund initiatives that help the VPD save lives and prevent crime at a grassroots level as well as develop and execute meaningful community outreach programs.

Due to the nature of their work, VPD officers often see the gaps and needs in our neighbourhoods before anyone else. They turn to the Vancouver Police Foundation for funding to launch and operate programs that fill these gaps. These officers go well beyond the scope of their job and typically manage these programs on a voluntary basis—after shifts or on days off.

Over the last month we have highlighted some of the important community programs we granted to since our inception in 1976 up until 2010. Check them out:

Part 1: VPF in the 1900s
Part 2: VPF 2000-2010

This week we look at more recent years, starting with the VPD’s response to the 2011 Stanley Cup riots. With more than 220 programs funded in the last 45 years, here are some of the important initiatives from 2010 – 2015.

 


2011 – Hockey Riot Posters

In the fall of 2011, the Foundation assisted the VPD with a special project to help identify 100 unidentified rioters from the evening of June 15, 2011. This project was a tactic that the VPD had never tried before and was a perfect fit for the Foundation – it broke new ground and encouraged participation in public safety. Part One of the poster campaign launched on November 16, 2011 and involved the distribution of 30,000 posters by 150 volunteers in 34 strategic locations across the Lower Mainland. Part Two of the campaign rolled out in March of 2012 when another 70,000 posters were distributed across 75 locations in 19 cities. Over 550 volunteers and police officers assisted with the campaign – resulting in more than 370 tips which led to hundreds of criminal charges against the rioters.


2012 – Anniversary for Women in Policing


In 1912, the VPD was the first municipal police department in Canada, and third in the world, to hire women as sworn officers. The job description, the rights, and the uniform worn by female officers have evolved over time, as parity between men and women was established. With 2012 marking the 100th anniversary of this important milestone, the Foundation was proud to support the Vancouver Police Museum’s new Oral History Collection that focused on collecting the stories of past and present VPD women as a tribute to the accomplishments of the VPD’s female trailblazers. It was also an opportunity to share the century-long story of struggle, success, and social change.


2013 – Project MESH

Project MESH (Make Everyone Safe & Happy) launched in 2013 with a specific focus to help lessen the growing number of youth-related violent crimes in Southeast Vancouver and to deter young people from being negatively influenced by older crime-prone peers. It was created by VPD Constables Hardeep Sahota and Tajinder Parmar and features an annual VPD-hosted sports day. The goal of Project MESH is to create bonds with youth through fun activities and athletics. This program collaborates with Southeast Vancouver community centers and area youth workers to create specialized police-youth events centered around socialization activities that create and instill confidence in kids to stand-up to bullying and street-gang influence.


2013 – Operation Lock Up

In partnership with the VPD and ICBC, the Foundation provided funding to help prevent vehicle theft by offering steering wheel locks free of charge to Vancouver residents who own one of the top ten most frequently stolen vehicles. While the best anti-theft device is an electronic immobilizer which prevents the engine from starting without a key, many of the top ten most frequently stolen vehicles do not have this capability – and the steering wheel lock prove to be just as effective in these vehicles. The VPD has always been committed to reducing property crime in Vancouver and this was an unprecedented effort to tackle theft from autos.


2014 – Lunch with the Chief

This unique and interactive event was launched with great success in 2012 in partnership with the Carnegie Centre Society. Lunch with the Chief brings together the VPD Chief Constable, frontline and Executive VPD members with approximately 80 residents of the DTES. This event encourages meeting, socializing and sharing information between the police and the community. By providing an informal platform for engagement, residents are able to share a meal and insightful conversation as a way to break down barriers of communication and have meaningful, positive interactions in a neutral environment. This event takes place approximately four times a year and has been hugely successful in improving relationships between law enforcement and community members.


2015 – VPD Cadets

The VPD, the Foundation, and its community partners are deeply committed to giving Vancouver’s youth every possible chance for a successful and happy life. Through mentorship, the VPD Cadet program guides young people, especially those who live in low-income neighbourhoods, toward a positive and productive future. In May 2015, 60 Vancouver inner-city youths completed the inaugural year of the Vancouver Police Cadet Program. The 28-week program includes educational workshops, physical training, and team and life skill building exercises. The participants come from diverse socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds and gain incredible leadership, self-discipline, vocational and self-worth skills.


2015 – Project 529

In 2015, the Foundation provided the VPD with funding to join forces with Project 529 to combat the prolific bike theft problem in Vancouver. Project 529 is an online information-sharing platform and bike registration database system that reunites stolen bikes with their rightful owners and also works to deter would-be thieves before thefts occur. This program is one of the most impactful partnerships between the VPD and a third-party service provider, resulting in a 40% drop in bike thefts in Vancouver.


2015 – ID4ME

The ID4ME program was created by VPD Constable Linda Malcolm to help address the issue of the lack of acceptable identification (ID) for vulnerable residents that live in the Downtown Eastside. Almost half of these residents did not have the minimum ID required to access services such as health care, voting privileges, banking, and even some housing opportunities. Since the launch of ID4ME in 2015, over 500 pieces of official ID have been obtained by residents. One individual was finally able to claim his lottery winnings after receiving three pieces of ID from this initiative. ID4ME was also able to assist a young woman from Mexico obtain her birth certificate by involving the Mexican Consulate. Removing barriers to obtaining ID allows individuals to access and move forward in many aspects of their life.


The Vancouver Police Foundation supports programs and initiatives that fall under one of four pillars: Youth Programs, Mental Health & Addictions, Community Outreach & Engagement, and Technology & Special Equipment. You can help build a safer Vancouver by donating to the Vancouver Police Foundation.