Vancouver – Vancouver Police today released a new crime statistics report for the first six months of 2020, which provides insight into criminal activity in Vancouver during the pandemic. Violent crime increased by 5.2 per cent 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,” says Howard Chow, Deputy Chief Constable, Operations, VPD. “There was an increase in all areas of the city but areas like Strathcona, downtown, and Yaletown recorded high numbers.”
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.
“The pandemic had a positive effect on certain crime types. For example, with fewer cars parked downtown and fewer 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,” adds Deputy Chow. “However, there were significant negative impacts too. With many businesses closed, they were left vulnerable to thieves.”
The increase in overall violent crime (5.2 per cent) was driven by a 21.7 per cent increase in the most serious assaults.
The decrease in overall property crime (12.9 per cent) was 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.
Police are continuing to pay special attention to 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.
The number of motor vehicle accidents attended by police – those with injuries – decreased by 21 per cent and the number of motor vehicle fatalities decreased from nine in 2019 to three in 2020.
The report was posted this week to the Vancouver Police Board’s web site and is available for the public to view.