The Vancouver Police Department (VPD) says that “significant measures” are being taken to curb property crime as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.
According to Chief Constable Adam Palmer, thieves are taking advantage of the retail closures currently in place.
“Property crime is an issue in Vancouver year-round and we continuously implement new measures to help reduce property crime and target repeat offenders,” said Chief Palmer in an emailed statement. “However, it appears thieves are attempting to take advantage of commercial spaces that are closed due to social distancing measures. We are targeting these offenders aggressively on several levels.”
From March 1 to 15, the VPD reported 86 commercial break-ins around Vancouver.
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The number of break-ins spiked the following week, with 81 break-ins taking place from March 16 to 24.
Thirty-five of those incidents took place in downtown Vancouver, where the biggest increase in break-ins has been reported.
Police currently have several active projects to target known offenders. There has also been an increase in overnight patrol officers and community safety personnel.
Despite the spike in activity, however, the number of calls per day has decreased for the VPD by an average of 10%.
Businesses are encouraged to take all appropriate measures to ensure security, including moving merchandise away from windows or removing it from the space altogether, using window shutters, upgrading locks, and increasing outdoor lighting when possible.