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Vancouver Police To Boost Playoff Presence

(CBC) -- Vancouver police say they will significantly increase the number of officers on patrol downtown during the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Chief Jim Chu said Wednesday they underestimated the number of hockey fans who took to the streets following the Canucks' Stanley Cup playoff victory Tuesday night.

Chu said police now estimate there were 20,000 people on the streets of the downtown entertainment district, who were being policed by between 80 and 90 officers.

"We expected a large crowd but it was much more than we anticipated," said Chu. "But we got through it last night, the crowd was great."

He said more will be on the street throughout the playoffs.

"We always expected round four -- the finals -- would generate the largest numbers of people," the chief said. "We are going to increase the police presence in the downtown area."

When the playoffs began last month, the expected policing budget was set at about $500,000 -- if the Canucks went all the way to the final series. But Chu said Wednesday that bill is going to rise.

Six people were arrested Tuesday night and there were 137 liquor violations, the chief said.

But he said that despite the number of liquor infractions, there are no plans to shut down liquor stores as police did during the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Chu said police have learned from the riots that followed the Canucks' 1994 Stanley Cup loss to the New York Rangers, which caused about $1 million in damage, injured 200 people and led to charges against more than 150.

He said police know they need to have crowd-control officers out and visible before things get out of hand, rather than keeping them hidden on standby as they were in 1994.

With files from The Canadian Press

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