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Is the COVID-19 Changing the Pattern of Criminal Activity in Canadian Cities?

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covid 19 crime

In the face of lockdowns and stay at home orders from the authorities, it seems like a new pattern of neighbourhood crime is emerging in Canada. The police are reporting fewer incidences of drunk driving, fraud, traffic violations, and other crimes, but has been seeing a marked increase in domestic violence for the past few weeks overall.

Emergency declarations of limitations on work, movement, business, and recreation across most of Canada changed the lifestyles of millions of Canadians. Families and individuals are in self-isolation with only the people they live with for companionship, putting more stress and strain on relationships as the weeks drag by.

Interesting Crime Patterns in York

Police forces told National Post that new highs and lows are being recorded and that their forces are very busy trying to keep order. York police reported a 13% decrease in overall crime for March 2020 compared to the same month a year ago. Impaired driving was down by 29% and routine traffic violations was down by 32% as a result of bars being closed and people staying home. Weapons offences was down by 13% and frauds was down by 16% too; unfortunately, commercial break-ins rose by 45% in March and theft of vehicles rose by 44% as more vehicles and stores lay empty without people nearby.

Inside the home, it is much worse. Domestic complaints rose by 22%, with people reporting anything from verbal altercations to truly violent domestic assault. Other areas in Canada are seeing the same general trend but may not be as pronounced as it is in York.

Toronto Reports Crime Patterns

The weekly statistics in Toronto show almost no change in homicide but with a marked decline in other major crime categories. Meaghan Gray of Toronto police says that this pattern may be attributed to self-isolation and social distancing although the incidences of other crimes such as break-ins and vehicle theft also declined in Toronto.

Vancouver, Ottawa, Winnipeg, and Edmonton Share Their Numbers

Mental health calls saw a 52% in Edmonton for March 2020 compared to March 2019 as shared by their Police Service spokesman Scott Pattison. Calls associated with serious domestic violence increased by 62% for the first quarter of 2020.

Ottawa reports that their main crime concerns are stunt driving, commercial break-ins, and domestic abuse. Insp. Jim Elves shares that their department is also concerned that victims of domestic abuse may also be not reporting their abusers nor getting treatment in clinics or hospitals for their injuries.

Vancouver police reported a 10% decrease in overall calls but saw an increase in commercial break-ins. Chief Adam Palmer says that it looks like thieves are taking advantage of social distancing and the fact that commercial establishments are mostly closed. Overall property crime in Vancouver declined by 12% compared to the weeks prior to the pandemic.

While Calgary doesn?t have enough data to share crime patterns yet, Winnipeg Police Const. Jay Murray says that COVID-19 doesn?t seem to have a noticeable impact on crime numbers in their locale.

The above data goes to show that with COVID-19 comes new challenges in terms of keeping one?s self protected from crimes. If you have any specific concerns or need help with uncovering COVID-19 fraud and scam or any other crime that you want to gather data on during the pandemic, feel free to avail of our private investigation services. Call us today!

 

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