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'Peaceful' trend continues on second night of May long weekend

Police say culture shift has led to improved Victoria Day holiday

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The 'peaceful' trend continued on the second night of Whistler's May long weekend with few major incidents to report, according to police.

"Thus far, at least with one last night (remaining), it’s been a relatively peaceful and fun-filled weekend," Whistler RCMP Cpl. Darren Durnin told Pique on Sunday evening.

On Saturday, typically the busiest night of Whistler's notorious May long weekend for law enforcement, police issued roughly 50 violation tickets, "the vast majority" for open liquor, Durnin reported. Mounties also dealt with a handful of impaired drivers, mostly concentrated to the Pemberton area.

One troubling incident at about 11:10 p.m. saw an individual throw a rock through the front doors of the Meadow Park Sports Centre. Police are asking anyone with information to contact the detachment at 604-932-3044, or Sea to Sky Crime Stoppers.

Friday night was also relatively uneventful, with only 13 police files in all. "Isolated" incidents of open alcohol resulted in one ticket being issued. Durnin also noted that three people were detained in custody Friday night as a result of "unlawful behaviour." Five individuals were held in cells Saturday night, primarily for public intoxication.

This year's holiday has thus far been a welcome change of pace from previous editions of the Victoria Day weekend that earned it a reputation for violent and unruly behaviour. In 2015, for instance, two stabbings were reported, including an attack near Marketplace that caused the death of a Burnaby teen. Two years prior, several village stores suffered extensive property damage after vandals went around smashing windows.

But the 2016 holiday seemed to indicate a shift from years past, with no violent incidents reported and only 87 calls for service, compared to 141 the year before and 155 in 2014.

Durning said officers' high visibility, paired with community efforts to change the culture around May long weekend, has seemed to have its intended impact.

"It enables us to be out there, be visible and keep the community safe in the day and night," he said, highlighting the family-friendly programming of the Great Outdoors Festival and grassroots initiatives like the "Safe Zone" set up at the conference centre as key contributing factors to the peaceful weekend.

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