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Police tighten patrols in Victoria, after spike in thefts due to COVID-19 precautions

Last Updated Mar 24, 2020 at 6:01 pm PST

(Image via Victoria Police Department)

Victoria Police are ramping up patrols after an increase in break and enters affecting local businesses

Many businesses have had to close down or are only open for reduced hours, becoming a target for thieves

VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) – Police patrols in Victoria are being ramped over concerns that criminals are trying to exploit businesses that have closed down in recent days because of COVID-19 precautions.

This comes after analysts there saw an increase in criminal behaviour.

Bowen Osoko with Victoria Police says what they are seeing is break and entries or attempted ones, and those types of crimes have jumped recently.

That’s because many businesses and restaurants have been forced to close or reduce their hours to better allow for social distancing and prevent the spread of the virus.

“They’ve seen enough initial uptakes to be concerned about it,” Osoko explains.

He says the best thing business owners can do is to remain vigilant and try to keep their shops secure.

“Treat your businesses like you are a jewellery shop,” he says. “Jewellery shops take their stuff out of display windows at the end of the day – that’s super helpful,”

Osoko also says businesses need to watch out for each other and report any unusual behaviour.

Meantime Vancouver Police say they are also keeping an eye on any spike in property crime or theft to see if they also need to step up patrols.