Vancouver’s police chief is defending the city’s reputation and promising a safe Olympics in response to recent criticism from international media.

On April 1, the number of Lower Mainland shootings this year surpassed the 50 mark.

In all, 43 people have been hit — 21 of them fatally, in 54 shootings in 2009.

At the same time last year, there were 11 deaths in 14 shootings.

At a press conference on Wednesday, Chief Const. Jim Chu suggested that those cities that are critical of Vancouver should take a “look in their own backyard.”

He added that high-profile violent crimes are “few and far between” and the Olympics will be “safe and secure.”

On Sunday, British newspaper The Independent published an editorial describing our once “cuddly, eco-friendly” city as being home to “blood-splattered streets littered with shell casings and corpses.”

The story has since been picked up by the Seattle Times, the Australian, Agence France-Press, the Associated Press and Singapore’s Today.

Mayor Gregor Robertson and Premier Gordon Campbell also defended the city, saying it’s safe for visitors.

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