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 50.

 

In all, 43 people have been hit — 21 of them fatally, in 54 shootings. At the same time last year, there were 11 deaths in 14 shootings.

 

At a press conference on Wednesday, Chief Const. Jim Chu suggested those cities critical of Vancouver should “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.