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VPD arrest 40 people as business break-ins spike

File - A Vancouver Police Department vehicle. (Lasia Kretzel, NEWS 1130 Photo)

Break-ins at commercial properties are on the rise since physical distancing started

VPD have arrested 40 suspects for far

Police say most suspects are known to police

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Forty people have been charged with breaking into Vancouver businesses, and police are warning of an increased risk of burglaries as many shops remain shuttered during social distancing measures.

Sgt. Aaron Roed says while overall property crimes are down, break-and-enters on vacant businesses have been on the rise since physical distancing measures started.

“We are seeing an increase in the downtown core of Vancouver, specifically along the Granville Street and Robson Street areas. But we are seeing this flow out into areas like Kitsilano,” he explains.

Roed adds most of the suspects are known to police, and several been charged, released, then allegedly committed the crime again. He also says there aren’t any numbers to support suspects are organizing and targeting businesses.

Even after dozens of arrests, the VPD warns it doesn’t expect the numbers to drop anytime soon.

The department is recommending businesses take extra precautions, including upgraded locks, better lighting, and boarding up exposed windows if possible. Police will still be proactively patrolling, but ask people to check on their businesses frequently for signs of forced entry.

If anyone sees anything suspicious, they are asked to call 9-1-1.

The suspects are facing recommended charges of break and enter, theft, and possession of stolen property.