RCMP: No significant increase in property crime during pandemic

No pandemic crime wave

Sarita Patel

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses have sat empty and could have be seen as targets for criminals, but the Kelowna RCMP say they have not seen much of an increase in property crime during their first quarter of the year.

“We haven’t seen a whole lot of really any drastic spikes in pretty much any of our stats so far this year, which has been great,” says Cpl. Jocelyn Noseworthy, media relations officer, Kelowna RCMP. 

The detachment recorded from Jan. 1 to Apr. 14 comparisons from 2019 to 2020, keeping mind that stats fluctuate constantly and for a variety of reasons: 

  • Break and enters - up six per cent 
  • Thefts from auto - down five per cent 
  • Bike theft - up 18 per cent
  • Auto theft - down 29 per cent
  • Violent crime - up 34 per cent (consistent with the entire southeast district of B.C.)

Noseworthy notes many cars aren’t coming downtown and are safely parked at home during the pandemic. 

“Even since January, in comparison to last year, we have seen a decrease in auto theft but it certainly has been more of a decrease in the last month and that certainly could be attributed to more people at home,” adds Noseworthy. 

With that being said, she notes that quite a few of the break-and-enters they attend have been a result of unlocked doors and windows. 

“One thing we can do as a community is making sure that we are protecting ourselves... Lock your doors, lock your windows - do all the things you normally would do, just because you’re at home doesn’t necessarily mean you can leave your garage door unlocked.”  

This is something she experienced last weekend, but thankfully it was a friendly guest.

“I was home, the back door was open because I was in and out of things, and I turned around and the neighbour’s dog was in my home… it’s that easy for someone who isn’t suppose to be in there, if you’re not taking the proper precautions,” adds Noseworthy. 

The Kelowna RCMP reminds residents, regardless of COVID-19, that you should report anything suspicious — even if it’s after the fact. Noseworthy says it helps them know what’s going on in the community and they can proactively place their officers in problem areas to prevent crime. 

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