Make Granville Street safer, homicide victim's sister urges Vancouver council

Make Granville Street safer, homicide victim's sister urges Vancouver council

Jassicka Bhullar stood beside her husband and sister inside council chambers at Vancouver City Hall Wednesday and delivered a powerful speech about the need to improve safety in the Granville Entertainment District.

Bhullar's brother, Kalwinder Thind, 23, was stabbed to death last month as he was trying to break up a fight outside a nightclub on Granville Street.

"My brother lost his life trying to help others make it home safely," Bhullar said as she fought through tears.

"The question shouldn't be whether or not improvements need to be made. The question should be when. The answer is now."

Use surveillance cameras: councillor

Bhullar was speaking in support of councillor George Affleck's motion, which is aimed at making Granville Street a safer and more vibrant place.

Affleck is calling for better transportation options, more patio space and live music.

To address crime and violence, Affleck wants to see increased use of surveillance cameras.

Closed-circuit TV (CCTV) technology has been in place since the 2010 Olympics but the cameras are only turned on for special events.

"We need to act on this neighbourhood," Affleck said.

"This is a neighbourhood that has declined in a way that it shouldn't have."

Fixing Granville

Affleck says safety can be immediately improved with the use of surveillance cameras, but after a lengthy debate over privacy concerns, council decided to study the issue first.

City staff will consult with groups like the B.C. Civil Liberties Association and Pivot Legal Society before it reports back to council in June.

"It is important to investigate this further," said councillor Raymond Louie.

"Are there other measures that we can put in place that would be hopefully more effective and more lasting."

Unsolved case

Police are asking the public for photos and video of the stabbing outside of Cabana nightclub, which is where Thind worked as promoter.

No arrests have been made in the case.

Bhullar believes CCTV technology would have assisted police with their investigation had it been in place on the Granville strip.

"I ask anyone who is against these changes, would you still say that this was an overreaction if this was one of your family members that died on the Granville strip?" she said.

"Innocent people should not be killed in one of the best cities in the world."