Forty suspects were arrested and charged earlier this week in relation to a spree of break-and-enter crimes in Vancouver.
The Vancouver Police Department says that although overall property crime is down, there has been an increase in commercial break-and-enters over the past few weeks.
Some of the charges that are being recommended to Crown Counsel include break-and-enter, theft, and possession of stolen property.
Police also say that they’ll be continuing to increase patrol in specific areas and combat commercial theft.
“There was an increase in commercial break-and-enter incidents once physical distancing measures were put into place,” says Constable Tania Visintin, spokesperson for the VPD. “We are targeting offenders committing these crimes through patrol and investigative initiatives and have made good progress.”
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Earlier this month, Sergeant Aaron Road told Daily Hive that between March 1 and 15, there were 20 commercial break-and-enters, but over the period from March 16 to 24, this increased to 35 incidents.
The police now have multiple teams targeting problematic areas in the downtown peninsula and other retail areas elsewhere in the city, including Broadway.
To the same end, the VPD is urging businesses and commercial property owners to take proactive measures in preventing their properties from being targeted by thieves and vandals.
Many closed businesses with storefronts have already boarded up their windows as a dramatic measure, and this is encouraged by the police.
Businesses that are closed are advised to remove merchandise from space altogether if they can, or at least move merchandise away from windows so that it cannot be seen. Computers and anything else of value, especially on desks, should be moved away so that they are not visible.
As well, window shutters to minimize visibility into commercial spaces are helpful, and if feasible, an increase in lighting should be considered.
Other suggested measures include upgraded entrance locks and security systems.