Greater Victoria School District urges parents to speak with kids after rash of youth crimes

The Greater Victoria School District (SD61) is asking families to speak with their children after a rash of recent crimes by youth in Victoria.

Over the past month, Victoria police say they've investigated more than 30 crimes involving youth in the downtown core – with eight teens being arrested this past weekend.

Many of the incidents are occurring on Friday and Saturday evenings, and generally involve violence, vandalism, and the open consumption of alcohol and drugs by minors, according to SD61.

In some of the incidents, youth and adults have been injured, and police have found several weapons – like knives or bear spray, on several youth.

The Greater Victoria School District has now sent a letter to families who have kids in high school in the region.

"Not specific to schools or any incidents, but really an overview of how to interact downtown and how to be a positive contributing member of the community," said Deb Whitten, interim superintendent for SD61.

The letter asks that families create plans with their children that outline how kids will get home safely, and how to respond if they feel like they're in a risky situation.

"We recognize that youth have had a difficult few years adjusting to the impact of COVID; with the relaxing of restrictions for all, it is only natural that our youth want to be together," reads the letter sent to families on Tuesday.

REGIONAL ISSUE

The school district says families can check their municipalities to see what rec centre activates or community programs are available to youth.

Victoria police say the youth that are coming to the downtown core on the weekends come from communities across the South Island.

Police say they're working with community partners from Victoria to Saanich to Langford and beyond to try to address the trend.