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Policing aaaa

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1 Policing aaaa on Wed Sep 29, 2010 11:02 am

While most of the Lower Mainland is policed by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police's "E" Division, Vancouver operates the Vancouver Police Department, with a strength of 1,174 sworn members and an operating budget of $149 million in 2005.[99][100][101] Over 16% of the city's budget was spent on police protection in 2005.[102]

The Vancouver Police Department's operational divisions include a bicycle squad, a marine squad, and a dog squad. It also has a mounted squad, used primarily to patrol Stanley Park and occasionally the Downtown Eastside and West End, as well as for crowd control.[103] The police work in conjunction with civilian and volunteer run Community Police Centres.[104] In 2006, the police department established its own Counter Terrorism Unit. In 2005, a new transit police force, the Greater Vancouver Transportation Authority Police Service (now South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority Police Service), was established with full police powers.

Although it is illegal, Vancouver police generally do not arrest people for possessing small amounts of marijuana.[105] In 2000 the Vancouver Police Department established a specialized drug squad, "Growbusters," to carry out an aggressive campaign against the city's estimated 4,000 hydroponic marijuana growing operations (or grow-ops) in residential areas.[106] As with other law enforcement campaigns targeting marijuana this initiative has been sharply criticized.[107]

As of 2008, Vancouver had the seventh highest crime rate, dropping 3 spots since 2005, among Canada's 27 census metropolitan areas.[108] However, as with other Canadian cities, the over-all crime rate has been falling "dramatically."[109] Vancouver's property crime rate is particularly high, ranking among the highest for major North American cities.[110] But even property crime dropped 10.5% between 2004 and 2005, according to the Vancouver Police.[100] Metro Vancouver has the highest rate of gun-related violent crime of any major metropolitan region in Canada, according to a 2006 Statistics Canada study. There were 45.3 violent offences involving guns for every 100,000 people in Metro Vancouver, slightly higher than the Toronto CMA at 40.4 but far above the national average of 27.5.[111] A series of gang-related incidents in early 2009 escalated into what police have dubbed a gang war. Vancouver plays host to special events such as the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference, the Clinton-Yeltsin Summit or the Symphony of Fire fireworks show that require significant policing. The 1994 Stanley Cup riot overwhelmed police and injured as many as 200 people

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