The Vancouver Police Department (VPD) are taking significant measures to combat property crime while local and provincial measures are in place to address the spread of COVID-19.
While property crime is an issue in Vancouver year-round, the VPD continuously implement new measures to help reduce crime and target repeat offenders. In some neighbourhoods, it appears thieves are attempting to take advantage of commercial spaces that are closed due to social distancing measures. The VPD is taking proactive measures to target these offenders 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 areas that are hardest hit overnight by deploying more patrol officers and community safety personnel.
From March 12 to 25, the number of calls for service per day for the VPD declined by an average of ten per cent. During this same period, overall property crime 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.
Attached is a checklist that you can follow to learn how to perform a security audit of your business. The checklist also contains suggestions on how to secure your business using long-term measures. This is meant as a guideline. You are not required to implement all the suggestions, but rather should consider them as part of your overall security plan. We appreciate that both time and costs are involved with some of the action items.
Perhaps the most important step to take to prevent crime is to remove all valuable items from sight. Once you have completed the checklist, we encourage you to print the attached notice and affix it to the most visible area in your business from the inside facing out.
In response to the government amending the list of essential services, and with public safety at the forefront of many business owners’ minds, the Downtown Vancouver BIA has adjusted their community safety programming to protect property and provide reassurance. The Safety Ambassador program has been revised to respond to areas of greatest need. In light of recent criminal activity, and in order to align with membership feedback, overnight mobile security patrols have been introduced to prevent member businesses from falling victim to opportunistic crime, and to reduce signs of social disorder downtown.
Senior Manager, Community Safety
Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association
Staff Sergeant Kevin Bernardin
Business Improvement Association Liaison
Vancouver Police Department