Vancouver Police are taking significant measures to combat property crime while local and provincial measures are in place to address the spread of COVID-19.

“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 Adam Palmer, Vancouver Police. “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.”

The VPD’s property crime detectives are currently running several investigative projects to target known offenders. The VPD has also increased its visibility and presence near the hardest hit areas over night by deploying more patrol officers and community safety personnel.

“We have very advanced analytical capabilities and are looking at crime statistics on a daily basis to identify trends and geographic hot spots. This allows us to shift and reallocate resourcing and plan ahead for new issues that may emerge,” adds Chief Palmer. “Overall, we have seen a reduction in calls for service for police over the last couple of weeks, and we will be ready to respond if this changes.”

Since March 12, the number of calls for service per day for the VPD has declined by an average of ten per cent. In the past two weeks, overall property crime has decreased by 12 per cent when compared to the weeks leading up to the pandemic.

From March 1 to 15 (a two-week period), there were 86 commercial break-ins reported throughout the city. From March 16 to 24 (a one-week period), there were 81. The biggest increase has been reported in downtown Vancouver. From March 1 to 15, there were 20 commercial break and enters, but from March 16 to 24, there were 35.

“We are continuing to partner with Vancouver-based business improvement associations to provide safety information and support,” adds Palmer. “Many BIAs and businesses have been very proactive and have implemented additional safety measures on their own.”

Vancouver Police encourage businesses to implement the following measures to help ensure security:

  1. Move merchandise away from windows and out of view or remove it from the retail space altogether
  2. Use window shutters to minimize damage and reduce visibility
  3. Upgrade locks
  4. Increase outdoor lighting levels to ensure the space around your business is visible and well-lit

Police are reminding the public to call 9-1-1 if they see a crime in progress or suspicious activity.