Overall crime rate in Vancouver went down in 2017, VPD says

Vancouver police say the rate of crime in the city dropped in 2017, with less property crime and deadly car crashes but more homicides and car theft.

Property crime and deadly car crashes are down, but homicides and sex offences are up slightly

Vancouver police say the rate of crime in the city dropped in 2017 compared to the year before but noted that vehicle break-ins are still an issue. (Gian-Paolo Mendoza/CBC)

Vancouver police say the rate of crime in the city dropped in 2017, with less property crime and deadly car crashes but more homicides and car theft.

The overall crime rate has gone down 1.5 per cent, according to department data released Thursday.

Property crime went down nearly two per cent, ending a five-year streak of rising rates. Break-ins to businesses also went down by nearly 18 per cent, robberies were down 23 per cent and deadly motor vehicle collisions dropped by 13 per cent.

Deadly motor vehicle collisions in Vancouver dropped by 13 per cent last year, according to the data. (Gian-Paolo Mendoza/CBC)

There were 1.9 per cent more violent crimes in 2017, but when you compare those numbers for the last 10 years, there's still a decrease.

Homicides in the city went from 12 to 19 last year, for an increase of 58 per cent. Shots fired incidents were up 19 per cent, from 26 to 31.

Sex offences were also up by two per cent.

On average, Vancouver police responded to calls within nine minutes and 46 seconds in 2016. (GP Mendoza/CBC)

A statement from the department said motor vehicle theft is still a persistent problem.

"Theft from motor vehicles continues to be an issue in Vancouver, especially downtown," said Const. Jason Doucette. 

"While we'll continue to target offenders, drivers can help by simply not leaving anything visible in their vehicles. If thieves can see it, they're more likely to steal it."

On average, the data noted, Vancouver police responded to calls within nine minutes and 46 seconds in 2017 — about one second slower than the year before.