Vancouver police recently sent a police officer out undercover to try to catch those who prey on vulnerable people.
Staff Sgt. Mark Horsley set up on the Downtown Eastside in a wheelchair for five days, pretending to have suffered a brain injury, and expecting to get robbed, assaulted and taken advantage of.
He wasn’t. He said people only helped him — gave him loose change, secured his wallet, even shared their food.
“I was really taken by the politeness, the manners, the number of people who were very courteous.”
So the “Bait Wheelchair” didn’t nab any criminals. But Insp. Howard Chow won’t call it a failure.
“I think it tells a good story about the Downtown Eastside, that we all knew about, about the sense of community and about the sense of compassion and empathy that was going on down there.”
Over the past 18 months, the city has recorded six robberies, 21 assaults and one sexual assault on people in wheelchairs.
You can check out the VPD’s short video of Horsely’s time undercover here: