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Police report 129% spike in stranger sexual assaults in Vancouver, warn of disturbing trend

Sexual assaults in Vancouver have been going up over the past three years
A Vancouver Police Department patch is seen on an officer’s uniform in Vancouver, on Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)

Vancouver police are warning the public about a dramatic increase in sexual assault reports compared to previous years.

There were 16 reports of sexual assaults in Vancouver this July compared to 10 in July 2020 and seven in July 2019.

According to Const. Tania Visintin, the Granville entertainment district has been a hot spot for sexual crimes with eight reports in July, a 167 per cent increase compared to the three-year average for the month of July.

“We know that offences against a person, specifically sexual offences, are vastly under-reported,” Const. Visintin said.

Vancouver police said they will be re-launching the “Hands Off!” campaign in an attempt to dissuade potential offenders.

The campaign originally launched in 2019 and included social media posts and public posters reminding people that groping is a form of sexual assault.

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