Tell Strathcona BIA to end their contract with private security companies

Volunteers at the Carnegie Community Action Project (CCAP) have asked the Strathcona Business Improvement Association (BIA) to

hire the Mission Possible security and outreach service instead of CSC Security.

The CCAP volunteers met with Mission Possible in January and with Joji Kumagai, Executive Director of the BIA, and with a committee of the BIA in February and March.

Lu Lu B speaking about the displacement of sex workers by private security guards at the site of the coming Wall condo project at 955 E Hastings

Lu Lu B speaking about the displacement of sex workers by private security guards at the site of the coming Wall condo project at 955 E Hastings

At the two meetings with the BIA on March 8 and March 21, Darcie Bennett, Campaigns Director with Pivot Legal Society, told the group that Pivot has filed a complaint about CSC security with the BIA and the provicial regulator. The complaint outlined problem behaviour by CSC guards including telling women to “move along”, taking pictures of women, and talking to them in an intimidating way.  Private security guards have no more power than regular citizens when on public property.

At the meetings with Kumagai and the BIA, one local resident told about being told to “move on” by CSC when he was standing in front of the building he lives in getting his keys out.  He told of CSC telling some Indigenous women under an awning in the pouring rain to “move along.”

A woman said CSC staff take pictures of sex workers with their phone cameras, and make degrading remarks to sex workers.

Another woman said “We hope a car with a uniformed person has a duty to protect us too.”

“Can you train people you hire about the culture in our community so they don’t say, ‘there’s a dirty whore’ and move her along?” asked another woman.

Brian Postlewaite of Mission Possible told the CCAP volunteers on Jan. 25 that their security service trains local Downtown Eastside workers who already know the community.  They hand out clean needles and refer people to services.  They don’t tell people to “move along” and have strict policies against abusive language and disrespectful manners.  As a condition of support from the CCAP volunteers Postlewaite agreed to have an independent third party complaint resolution process if hired by the Strathcona BIA.

The BIA hasn’t decided yet who to hire.