Downtown Ambassadors® now providing 24/7 service

Release from the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association

Mayor Sullivan and representatives of the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association (DVBIA) provided an update on the expansion of the Downtown Ambassador Program – now running 24/7.

The Downtown Ambassadors are funded primarily by the 8,000 businesses and property owners in the 90-blocks of the DVBIA’s area through a levy. They are trained in all aspects of interacting with the public and serve as proactive “eyes and ears” on our streets for businesses, residents and tourists.

In April, Vancouver City Council approved funding to supplement the existing DVBIA Ambassador Program to extend its hours from 16 to 24 daily for the next year. Six Ambassadors were added to the complement of 16 for the 90-block downtown area. And, since September 2, Ambassadors have been on the streets between 10:30pm and 7:30am.

Already, the night service is having an impact on businesses, visitors and people living on the streets.

Recent success stories:

  • Belligerent and intimidating individuals who refuse to leave a 24-hour coffee shop most nights have made working conditions uncomfortable and unsafe for the female staff member. Refusing to leave the shop when asked by Downtown Ambassadors resulted in a call to police and the individuals being escorted from the property by VPD. Since then, regular patrols by the Ambassadors have resulted in fewer of the individuals returning to the shop with fewer such incidents.
  • Some taxis refuse to service certain parts of downtown resulting in visitors unable to catch a cab to go home or to their hotel. Downtown Ambassadors have walked, among others, a female bar patron to a location serviced by a number of cabs and waited until she secured a ride as she was intoxicated and too impaired to find her way home without assistance.
  • Initial mixed reaction by street people has primarily morphed into positive reactions as the homeless have come to see the Downtown Ambassadors as a set of ‘eyes and ears’ looking out for them to improve their own safety from predators.