Vancouver Police revealed Tuesday they have made 40 arrests of and recommended charges against suspects for commercial property break and enter crimes during recent weeks of the COVID-19 crisis.
Among the recommended charges are crimes such as break and enter, theft, and posession of stolen property, according to the VPD.
Police say that across Vancouver, overall property crime is down, however since the city has enacted social and physical distancing measures to stop the spread of COVID-19, there has been an uptick in commercial break and enter incidents.
"We are targeting offenders committing these crimes through patrol and investigative initiatives and have made good progress," says Constable Tania Visintin, VPD, in a media release.
Business owners and operators, particularly in high-profile retail corridors, have opted to board up their windows to deter smash-and-grab crimes such as looting.
The VPD says they will continue to put proactive and investigative measures in place but are also asking the public and business owners to do their part.
Specifically, police are encouraging businesses to implement the following measures to help ensure security:
- Move merchandise away from windows and out of view or remove it from the retail space altogether
- Use window shutters to minimize damage and reduce visibility
- Upgrade locks
- Increase outdoor lighting levels to ensure the space around your business is visible and well-lit
- Check your business frequently for any signs of forced entry, and report it to police immediately. If surveillance footage exists, please have it ready for officers to review and seize when they attend.
Police are reminding the public to call 9-1-1 if they see a crime in progress or suspicious activity.