06/06/2013 07:00 EDT | Updated 08/06/2013 05:12 EDT

Jaywalking, Panhandling Tickets In Vancouver Target Poor Areas: Groups


VANCOUVER - Vancouver police are coming under fire once again for what two local organizations say is the discriminatory enforcement of a city bylaw on the Downtown Eastside.

The Pivot Legal Society and the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users announced in March that 95 per cent of tickets issued under the street and traffic bylaw during the past four years were handed out in poorer neighbourhoods.

Pivot spokesman Doug King says the group will release more statistics today showing 75 per cent of jaywalking and about 30 per cent of panhandling tickets were handed out on the Downtown Eastside over the same period.

He says the bylaw is being used against one section of the population to give officers an excuse to check individuals for outstanding warrants.

Vancouver police have yet to respond to the report, although the force referred to a news release issued by the organization in March as "misleading," adding enforcement wasn't discriminatory.

King says he also wants to know why the police have yet to implement a recommendation from the missing-women inquiry, urging police to issue fewer tickets and charges for minor offences.

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