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Car break-ins linked to opioid crisis blamed for spike in Vancouver crime: VPD Chief

FILE - VPD has seen a spike in suspected arsons since March 2020. (NEWS 1130 photo)

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — It’s a crime of opportunity made worse by Vancouver’s deadly opioid crisis: that’s what police Chief Adam Palmer is saying about a massive jump in thefts from cars over the last decade.

Vancouver Police Chief Adam Palmer says he’s frustrated by repeat offenders breaking into cars — mainly to support a drug habit — which he says is the main reason why crime stats have jumped from less than 10,000 break-ins ten years ago to almost 15,000 in 2018.

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“The chronic offenders fluctuate, but there’s a general increase in population. Anytime you increase the population, it’s going to be a wide spectrum of people,” he says. “Some people are addicted to drugs. We have a high homeless population in Vancouver. There’s a whole bunch of social issues that are tied to this particular type of crime.”

Palmer says his officers are doing their best to catch chronic offenders, but he blames various social issues for these crime stats.

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He says it’s a crime that can easily be prevented, by locking your vehicle and hiding everything that could be valuable from sight.

“Please lock-up your car –just don’t leave them visible, lock them up in your trunk, so that you can’t see it,” he says.

Palmers also downplayed the latest performance report showing priority response times in 2018 were –on average– 21 seconds slower compared to 2017, saying most urgent crime calls are quickly attended to.