Petty vandalism concerns

Pete Vinje works at the HiFi Attic in downtown Vernon. When he arrived to work this morning he found the entrance to his store littered with garbage.

It's not exactly the best way to start the day, so Vinje was understandably upset. 

He posted a picture to the Vernon Rant and Rave community Facebook page and wrote: "I get to my store this morning to find this lovely mess... Vernon RCMP and city council seriously have to get their sh*t together."    

Vinje says they viewed security footage and saw a guy grab a bunch of garbage from one of the bins on the street, brought it into the entrance way of his store, riffled through it, and left the mess behind.

"I'm seeing more and more of this downtown," said Vinje. "It is getting a bit frustrating." 

This isn't the first time Vinje has had an issue like this at the store. He says they often have to clean up in behind the store in the parking area. 

"We've had issues out back in our little parking area," says Vinje. "I feel like it is getting worse."

The issue of petty vandalism in the downtown core does not have an easy fix. 

Recently, Castanet ran a story from another business owner who has been forced to deal with petty vandalism on an almost daily basis.

Executive director from the Downtown Vernon Association Susan Lehman says positive steps have been made, but being a business in the downtown core comes with certain challenges. 

"Operating a street-front business in any downtown core, particularly one as condensed as Vernon’s, does come with delivering service in an environment that can be affected by the impacts of homelessness and the current opiate healthcare crisis."

Lehman adds, "the DVA office and many of our members work regularly with our partners in bylaw, community safety, and the RCMP to report and identify areas of concern, who can then plan their patrol resources accordingly."

There has been an increase in the daytime presence of law enforcement and bylaw in the downtown core lately, but acts of petty vandalism tend to occur overnight.

"There's a lot of people who can be irresponsible, and leave their garbage in certain places," says Vernon Mayor Akbal Mund. "I can feel for the business owner, but isolated cases will occur through any place in Vernon."

Vinje says he wants to see the downtown grow, and worries incidents like this will hurt that growth. 

The DVA will be participating in a stakeholders meeting with RCMP tomorrow. They plan on discussing topics like petty vandalism in the downtown core.

*Patrols are conducted based on complaints received. The DVA urges any business owner who falls victim to petty vandalism or any other crime to contact community police, bylaw or RCMP.

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