British Columbia

Vancouver crime rate steady in 2020 compared to 2019, according to new stats from VPD

A new report from the Vancouver Police compares crime statistics from January to September 2020 with the same time period in 2019.

While some violent crimes are up this year, property crime has decreased by 20% in 2020

The Vancouver Police Department reports the total number of crimes in the city in the first nine months of 2020 is constant compared to a year earlier. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

Vancouver's crime levels for 2020 are similar to 2019, according to a new report from the Vancouver Police Department. 

Comparing the same time period, from January to September, there were 4,396 reported crimes in 2020 versus 4,397 incidents in 2019.

The VPD says certain types of crime have increased — for example, serious assaults have increased by 14 per cent over the previous year — and others, like robberies, have decreased by six per cent. 

Crime rose in these categories compared to 2019 according to the VPD report: 

  • The number of homicides are higher this year: 14 in 2020 versus nine in 2019.
  • Serious assaults, which includes assault with a weapon, assault causing bodily harm and aggravated assault, are up by 14 per cent.
  • Intimate partner violence is 4.6 per cent higher than 2019.
  • Anti-Asian hate crime incidents increased by 138 per cent.
  • Break-and-enters to businesses increased by 18 per cent.
  • Arson incidents increased by 39 per cent.
  • Assaults against police officers have gone up 47 per cent.

Crime fell in these categories compared to 2019: 

  • Robberies are down six per cent.
  • Property crime decreased by 20 per cent.
  • Theft from vehicles has decreased by 37 per cent.
  • Theft, like shoplifting, decreased by 26.6 per cent.
  • Sexual offences reported to police have decreased by 5 per cent.

Const. Tania Visintin with the Vancouver Police says some of the numbers can be explained by the pandemic shutdown including a decrease in shoplifting and the increase in business break-and-enters because many businesses were closed earlier this year. 

There was also data collected in specific neighbourhoods. The report found that in the three-block radius around Strathcona Park, calls to police for street disorder increased by 51 per cent. They increased by nine per cent in Chinatown and Yaletown.

"There have been a group of very vocal Yaletown residents that have spoken to the city, especially about what's been going on ... so we hear these concerns. And as the police, we can definitely try to target these suspects," Visintin said. 

She noted that police were able to arrest four people in connection with a series of mail thefts, break-and-enters and frauds in the downtown core this week.

"We have these stats now and now we can continue with more projects and more reallocating of resources," she said.

With files from On The Coast