Vancouver Police released a new crime statistics report today that provides insight into criminal activity for the first half of 2020.
The report looks at crime statistics from January 1 to June 30, 2020, and compares them to the same period in 2019. The report also includes a look at ten-year trends in each crime group.
According to figures in the report, violent crime increased by 5.2%, while property crime decreased due to a dramatic reduction in break-ins to cars. However, break-ins to commercial properties increased significantly.
“We are very concerned about the increase in the most serious crimes across the city,” said VPD Deputy Chief Howard Chow. “There was an increase in all areas of the city but areas like Strathcona, downtown, and Yaletown recorded high numbers.”
During the first seven months of the year in Stratchcona specifically, calls for service about weapons went up by 50%, break-ins went up by 68%, and calls about threatening behaviour increased by 14%.
Police said the increase in overall violent crime (5.2%) was driven by a 21.7% increase in the most serious assaults.
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However, Chow said the pandemic has also “had a positive effect on certain crime types.”
For example, “with less cars parked downtown and less cars on the road, we saw a significant decrease in break-ins to cars and the ability for police to get to dangerous situations more quickly.”
The report found that the decrease in overall property crime (12.9%) was the result of a 29.6% decrease in the number of break-ins to vehicles. However, there was a 47.9% increase in break-ins to commercial and business premises.
With many businesses closed during the height of the pandemic, “they were left vulnerable to thieves,” said Chow.
The report found that although total calls for police service decreased by 9.3% during the reporting period, there was an increase of 4.4% in the most serious calls for police service.
At the same time, there was a 2.2% 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.
The number of motor vehicle accidents attended by police – those with injuries – decreased by 21% and the number of motor vehicle fatalities decreased from nine in 2019 to three in 2020.