I was down at #occupyvancouver yesterday getting the lay of the land and looking around. Couldn’t help comparing it to New York and noticed a couple of key differences.
First, lots of tents. Yesterday was pouring rain and most people were inside their tents, pitched on palettes to keep them off the wet ground. Thank you City of Vancouver for letting people have their tents.
Also noticed not a single police officer anywhere. There were yellow vested security volunteers from the occupy camp, walking around and checking on people. But not a single police car in sight and not a single uniformed cop around. This is in contrast to other #occupy camps in New York and Melbourne and elsewhere where the police presence is heavy handed and evident everywhere. Here in Vancouver there seems to be a precious level of trust and laissez faire. So far, so good.
Much has been made about the policing expenses associated with the #occupyvancouver camp but it’s important to understand that these expenses are choices, not mandatory. While I was there yesterday a man was discussing the possibility of donating high quality fire extinguishers and training people in their use so that the fire department wouldn’t be needed thereby reducing the public cost. In a conversation I had yesterday we discussed an idea of the possibility of police meeting with the #occupy camp security volunteers and training them in some basic first responder practice. This would be an excellent way to reduce policing costs and build goodwill between the VPD and the campers and keep everyone and everything safe and secure. What a great conversation that would be. I wonder what it would take to make it happen?