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'Escalation' of threats, vandalism against Vancouver churches: police

Last Updated Jul 22, 2021 at 3:00 pm MDT

VANCOUVER — There’s been a “dramatic increase” in the number of vandalism or mischief incidents against properties owned by churches in Vancouver, and police say they’re concerned an escalation could lead to injury.

Sgt. Steve Addison says 13 incidents have occurred since early June involving threats to set fires, graffiti, paint splattering and rocks being thrown through widows at Christian churches in the city. 

One pastor found a canister with about four litres of lighter fluid and rags near the side of his church while doing rounds at 4 a.m., and saw a man standing in the middle of the street watching the building.

Addison says the incidents correlate with the discovery of unmarked graves of children outside the former residential school in Kamloops and elsewhere in Canada. 

He says he appreciates the news is very emotional for a lot of people, but there are better ways to express anger and frustration than committing a crime. 

Police and fire crews in Abbotsford, B.C., were called Wednesday night to an arson at a local church where no one was hurt and the flames were put out quickly with minimal damage. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 22, 2021. 

The Canadian Press