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DVBIA & VPD Safety Advice

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.

 

Dominic Long

Senior Manager, Community Safety

Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association

 

Staff Sergeant Kevin Bernardin

Business Improvement Association Liaison

Vancouver Police Department


Download the checklist here

Download the poster here.

Download the VPD FAQ here

Business Crime Prevention Advice

The DVBIA would like to share the following advice with many of our business owners who contribute to our great city, and who may have temporarily closed their doors during these challenging times. Right now, we all need to work together to keep each other, and our businesses, safe and secure. Our front-line security services are making it a priority to increase circulation around these businesses in order to closely monitor security at these locations.

We are also providing these crime prevention tips for business owners in the hopes of working together to keep our city, our business owners, and our community members safe.

  • Mobile Security

    Some businesses have employed security personnel to patrol businesses (or areas around multiple businesses). To meet the current needs of our members, the DVBIA has deployed mobile security to patrol downtown between the hours of 10:00 pm-7:00 am until further notice. It is our hope that this will enhance the safety and security of our members and their properties.

  • Removing some or all merchandise from store when possible

    If stores can altogether remove or even store merchandise away from view would be helpful. Empty out your cash drawer, and leave it open, so that it can be seen from outside to be empty. Removing any small or valuable items from stores displays will prevent smash and grab opportunities.

  • Displaying signage 

    Consider displaying notices such as “no cash or valuables are left on these premises”.

  • Alarm systems

    If your property has an alarm installed, activate it and monitor for activity.

  • Increase lighting

    Consider keeping the exterior of the business well-lit, even when closed, as lighting is a good deterrent for those looking to break into a business.

  • Increase locking mechanisms

    Make sure all outside entrances and inside security doors have deadbolt locks.

  • Increased partnerships between business groups, private security, and police

    This can enhance each other’s efforts to protect commercial areas. Tell your business neighbours your plan and look out for each other.

 


 

Report any suspicious activity by calling VPD non-emergency at 604-717-3321 or if it’s an emergency 911.