Beat Cop Blog: Poor Bashing, Publicity Stunt, Exploitation or something else?

Recently, I’ve been made aware of the VPD’s Beat Cop blog</a> done by Constable Steve Addison. The blog’s title is “Eastside stories”, and it is a new blog which is apparently sanctioned by the Vancouver Police Department. The blog itself introduces the DTES using all the typical stereotypes and buzzwords, including the term “Canada’s Poorest Postal Code”.

The second post is a post about how the constable finally found someone who he actually related to, and for a minute he sounds almost human. Almost.

The last post is then a bunch of photos of some of the things that happen in the DTES. A man sleeping on a bench in Andy Livingston park, someone shooting up heroin, and some pictures of the zero-block of Hastings Street, not far from Pigeon Park.

Now, so far the blog has mentioned the stereotypical DTES resident, and is clearly looking to create a stereotype of the average drug user as this filthy, sketched out freak. The fact of the matter is that people weren’t just born on drugs. It never shocks me to see any die hard addict doing drugs, what shocks me is when you see people who aren’t crackheads doing the drugs. When you see people with no track marks start up on their heroin, crack or meth habit, which is what you see on the margins of the DTES, in the “cleaned up” parts. Basically every third or fourth time I head down to VHS, it’s likely that I’ll see it in the mostly gentrified part of the DTES that it occupies.

The thing is that these people look respectable, so of course I don’t think these people would ever end up on the police blog. They aren’t fully addicted with mental health issues and are easy for the VPD to try and push around. However, I think that’s the part that should shock people. The fact that the people in the back alleys who are starting their habits are the missing link to people like you and me, and the full-fledged addicts.

I don’t expect much out of the Eastside Stories blog other than the typical VPD spin and the justification for dehumanizing people. However, I was hoping that it wouldn’t be so full of cracksploitation for the lack of a better word.