VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — In the era of COVID-19, your business in Vancouver is more likely to be robbed than your vehicle is broken into, according to crime statistics released by the Vancouver Police Department on Thursday.
The reduction in vehicle break-ins was the result of having way fewer cars on the road, while pandemic shutdowns left businesses empty and vulnerable to thieves, according to police.
Property crime decreased 12.9 per cent, the result of a 29.6-per-cent decrease in the number of break-ins to vehicles. However, there was a 47.9-per-cent increase in break-ins to commercial and business premises.
Data also shows “serious crime” was up in the first half of the year compared to the same period in 2019, in the downtown, Strathcona, and Yaletown areas, in particular.
The increase in overall violent crime was 5.2 per cent, driven by a 21.7-per-cent increase in the most serious assaults.
— Vancouver Police (@VancouverPD) September 17, 2020
“We are very concerned about the increase in the most serious crimes across the city,” Deputy Chief Const. Howard Chow says in a release.
Police are continuing to focus on Strathcona, where for the first seven months of the year calls for service about weapons went up by 50 per cent, break-ins went up by 68 per cent, and calls about threatening behavior increased by 14 per cent.
Although total calls for police service decreased by 9.3 per cent during the reporting period, there was an increase of 4.4 per cent in the most serious calls for police service.
At the same time, there was a 2.2-per-cent decrease in police response time to the most serious calls for service — “meaning that police officers were getting to the most serious calls 14 seconds faster.”
Meanwhile, the number of motor vehicle accidents attended by police — those involving injuries — decreased by 21 per cent, while the number of motor vehicle fatalities decreased from nine in 2019 to three in 2020.
The crime stats do not include the three homicides reported within an hour Wednesday, but cover the first six months of the year.
The state of emergency in B.C. was first called March 18, while the crime stats capture the period from January to the end of June.