Beggars, homeless & junkies, Vancouver
Another local warning I would say, not really a danger but Vancouver has a lot of homeless beggars that parole the streets.
They are just like beggars in any other city, nothing more special about these ones.
They say the climate in Vancouver contributes to the problem they have. It is very mild on the west coast of Canada making it a lazy man's job I guess.
Panhandlers, beggars, homeless - whatever you want to call them - they're a part of Vancouver life. Generally they'll ask for chaange and leave it at that but don't be surprised if a couple swear at you which did happen to me...it just depends on your character how you deal with it. Ladies - just keep walking.
Already this is becoming my major problem in Vancouver.Homeless people.Now i have nothing against homeless people,however dont come up with a long winded story and say how nice i am.Three times in the last 2 hours i have had the following.I am from Oz,In prison,lost my daughter,going to get thrown out.Second one is I havent got enough money for parking(which i stupidly gave her),Thirdly im collecting for the Samaritans.Watch out for these usual suspects.
I slept in alleys, didn't shower, started with $0 dollars, and roamed the streets for a full week during Christmas time. From Dec 23-30 I ventured out main and hastings late at night trying to find a spot to sleep. I took a notebook with me and wrote about 120 pages of my entire experience. I am blogging about this whole thing now at www.godspeasant.wordpress.com. All I can say is that it is not what people think it is. There are a lot of misunderstood, great, educated, intelligent, sincere, and warm people that are either homeless, or are just living in an extremely impoverished state. To those people that have never sat down and talked to anybody that is homeless, I would encourage you do to so with an open mind and an open heart. That way we can all progress in our society and move towards a better future for us all, whether one is rich or poor.
Vancouver is ugly and all of it's citizens live in deplorable conditions. The homeless (junkies, mentally ill and alcoholics) are just as well off as the working class. Most yuppies and professionals are more unpleasant to deal with than the bums. WARNING! Do not spend your money or your time in this city for any reason not even the olympics 2010. This is the most disgusting, disappointing and depressing place to live. Everything here is a facade! Stay out! I am working very hard to move away from this real hell on earth. Downtown Detroit and New York are safer.
This is not a very safe city, I think it is worse than people say. Yes Robson street is safe, and yes areas like the west end are safe. However, we saw violence, drunks and other dangers all over the city and not just in the east end!! Lots of wannabe gang members who are still as dangerous as real gangsters and a lot of dangerous mentally ill homeless people. Beware and think of carrying mace.
Vancouver is a beautiful and interesting city, but the Vancouver advertised by the tourism industry, is not the whole picture. It is a sad story, but like a lot of beautiful places, Vancouver has a dark side. The city has the highest population of drug addicts, and homeless people in Canada. During our visit to downtown, we encountered several homeless people, drug addicts, and beggars. Teenage girls younger than me, were standing at sky train stations, asking for money. A man was standing outside of a super market, hoping someone would give him food.
Homeless people and drug addicts, have resorted to selling garbage, and stolen property simply to earn a few dollars.
A homeless man was living in a tent, right in the middle of Yaletown.
Most of these people are harmless, and will leave you alone, but there are a few creeps who will follow you around, and harass you. We almost got jumped by a group of street vendors in Gastown, and I was followed by some creep at Granville Market.
If you do get harassed, report the incident to the police.
One time, a 17 year old kid asked my cousin for his phone, so he could call his drug dealer.
Maybe people from big cities are used to it, but people who live in smaller towns, might find this shocking, sad, and at times, even downright scary, as I did. This is not a side of Vancouver I wanted to see or document, but sadly, it is the reality.
Writing this is almost making me shed a tear. It is sad that there are people suffering like this, in a country like Canada. I don’t feel bad for the drug addicts, but I feel bad for the people who are homeless for another reason.
Fortunately, the city of Vancouver has enacted special program to try to help some of these people. We did our own part, by giving them some of them food and money, but you can't help everyone.
Most of these people hang out in Downtown, specifically in Gastown, Yaletown, and the infamous Eastside. It is not strange that someone like myself who is not used to the big city, might feel a little on edge. It really ruined my holiday.
But don't let all this deter you from visiting Vancouver. Once you get outside of downtown, Vancouver is the wonderful tourist destination you read about in the guide books, and everywhere else in the city, I've had a wonderful time, and like coming back to. But it's good to know that this stuff exists, so you are prepared. There are some areas of downtown, I would not bring your kids.
Becareful where you are, especially around China Town. Avoid going down Hastings street at all cost. It is dangerous and filled with junkies, and the mentally ill. Many purse has been stolen here...and many a car broken into. I was lucky to have someone warn me as i was walking toward the street.
While Vancouver is undeniably pretty from a distance, up close it has become an appalling stew of junkies, beggars and scavengers that is unrivalled in the developed world. It is easily the most annoying and depressing city I know to walk around in. You will be hounded for money from one end of the city centre to the other, you will see countless drug deals taking place under the incompetent eyes of the local police, and you will see the full effects of failed drug policies. This city has the highest crime rate in North America, so don't ever, ever leave anything in your car or it will most certainly be broken into or stolen. I suggest you delay any planned visits until the city gets its act together, or you will be truly astonished by what you see.
Walking back from Chinatown, I'm looking for my Mazda car I had parked in this area. I see some weird looking people around there... I press my purse closer to my chest and accelerate my pace. I'm so intrigued that I start looking at those people. There's no particular type of people...you see women, men, caucasians, asians, africans... but their common point is that their eyes are in the vague...
I didn''t know it back then, but I'm in fact "Downtown Eastside, a neighborhood having hard core drug problems.
The positive thing though is that Vancouver tries to deal with this problem with innovative solutions like offering addicts to get their fix from nurses and doctors (around 600 injections a day paid by the Canadian government) to try to protect them from diseases, keep them off prostitution and to break the circle of violence...
I have travelled many places in the world including North Africa, and have felt more safe and less bothered there than in the city of Vancouver. Supposedly, peaceful Vancouver Canada has a huge drug problem, and one of the worst ghettos in North America. In fact, it is the only city in the world where I know addicts deal drugs, and inject drugs right on the corner of the police station. Ironically you are likely to get a ticket if you peacefully drink a beer on the beach, so hypocritical. Vancouver is so full of aggressive beggars and panhandlers that block your path and harass you that many residents avoid going downtown. In addition, Vancouver has one of the highest property crime rates and car theft rates in North America, so if you plan to drive in Vancouver, your car may not be there when you get back, or it will have its window broken.
For those who are willing to put up with the annoying social issues of Vancouver, it is a beautiful place to visit in the summer!
While I would not classify the homeless population in Vancouver as dangerous, there are quite a large number of them there owing to the City's mild year-round climate. Many of them will ask passersby for money, but don't feel that you must give them any. They are quite harmless.
we arrived in Vancouver during the day and immedietely made our way to the East Hastings area to score some buds and seeds. during the day this area was pretty normal we scored some bc buds across from blunt brothers and come some hash then we went and ate crayfish heads in china town. by that time it was late so we found a hotel room but when we were unpacking our stuff another hotel room got raided by the swat team so we decided we would go chill back in east hastings when we got there it was a different feeling than before during the day. we started to look for a hash bar when we met this fellow called sandman he had tinfoil and a radio reciever on his head he was about five six and had long black hair he must have been native american but anyway he tried to rob us but we managed to evade him after he tried to get us to go down an alley way with him. Anyway lots of hookers mediocre bud and crazy mother f*$kers in that city \. ps if your reading this forum sandman f#@# you man next time well take your money homo.
I saw quite a few beggars in downtown Vancouver. Some asked me to loan them a nickle or a dime so they could make a phone call; they shouldn't call it a loan because I'm sure they wouldn't pay it back. I guess asking for a dollar or two is too much, so they ask for dimes - they save up for a bottle of mad dog or whatever.
Overall,Vancouver was a very safe city. Everyone is warned about the downtown eastside and it should probably be avoided. When in Gastown, don't go too far in either direction and you should be fine.
I found the homeless people on the streets to be intimidating at first, but they're harmless. Giving them money is a personal choice, but if you refuse, they usually just leave you alone and move on.