Weapons seized early in the evening May 27 by VicPD officers taking a proactive approach to concerns of youth gathering, drinking and using drugs. (Courtesy VicPD)

Weapons seized early in the evening May 27 by VicPD officers taking a proactive approach to concerns of youth gathering, drinking and using drugs. (Courtesy VicPD)

VIDEO: For a 3rd weekend, police seize liquor, weapons from youth in downtown Victoria

Twitter users support officers and condemn the work as criminalization of youth

As concerns over youth drinking and vandalizing downtown Victoria, the local police department highlighted the issue Friday night.

Victoria Police’s department focused on youth violence and vandalism returned to the downtown area for a third consecutive week Friday (May 27), in a bid to deter violence and vandalism.

The issue dates back six weeks, with officers responding each weekend to calls of large gatherings of youth consuming drugs and alcohol.

VicPD says the gatherings are organized by a core group using apps such as SnapChat and WhatsApp, and at times include about 150 youths, split into multiple groups. Ahead of the operation, VicPD reminded residents that previous weeks included youth-involved random assaults, bear spray fights, vandalism and thefts with drugs, alcohol and weapons seized. Several young people have gone to hospital, many for over-consumption, police said.

RELATED: Youth violence a growing regional concern for Greater Victoria

Friday’s live tweeting included an early evening seizure of knives and brass knuckles from a group of youths who police said were impaired, adding that pouring out illegal liquor stashes diverted future issues that night.

The online response ran the gamut from support for proactive police interaction, to those condemning the work as predatory and criminalization of youth.

RELATED: International students told not to enter downtown Greater Victoria amid youth crime concerns

Back on May 11 and 12, officers responded to a dozen incidents and made eight arrests with three individuals requiring medical care for intoxication. The second week coincided with the May long weekend, and VicPD reported officers’ early deployment disrupted several large gatherings. The significant majority of youths involved are from across Greater Victoria.

RELATED: Victoria police report swarms of youth flocking to Victoria to commit crimes

VicPD says it continues to work with partners including the Saanich Police Department, Oak Bay Police, the Central Saanich Police Service, West Shore RCMP and Sidney/North Saanich RCMP, as well as school districts across the regions including SD61, SD62 and SD63, private schools, municipalities, youth probation, community groups, parents, families and youths themselves to foster short, medium and long-term solutions.

VicPD

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