Physical, financial crimes against B.C. seniors jump, report says
'Those are troubling statistics and they're dramatic percentages,' Isobel Mackenzie says
B.C.'s watchdog for seniors' welfare says 2017 saw a "troubling" increase in the number of seniors who reported being the victims of crime.
The Office of the Seniors Advocate released its fourth annual Monitoring Seniors Services report Wednesday. The report said both the B.C. RCMP and the Vancouver Police Department reported an increase in crimes against seniors between 2016 and 2017.
In Vancouver, there were 173 cases of physical crimes against seniors, a 20 per cent increase from 2016.
There were 254 cases of financial crimes, a 26 per cent rise from 2016. Those crimes overwhelmingly consisted of fraud or scam attempts by strangers, such as lottery or Canada Revenue Agency scams, but also included financial abuse by family members or others known to the victim.
In parts of the province policed by the B.C. RCMP, there were 1,095 seniors who were reportedly the victims of violent crime in 2017 — an increase of 11 per cent from 2016.
"Those are troubling statistics and they're dramatic percentages," seniors advocate Isobel MacKenzie told On The Coast host Gloria Macarenko.
"The numbers are still relatively small but the trend line, unfortunately, is fairly steady at showing an increase."
The vast majority of violent crimes against seniors reported to RCMP were assaults. Threats, robberies, harassment and sexual assaults were also recorded but in much smaller numbers.
RCMP numbers on property crime showed only a one per cent increase in crimes against seniors compared to 2016, with 16,244 cases in 2017. However, that number has increased 30 per cent since 2013.
Mackenzie said the report's findings show the need for vigilance about the safety of seniors, who may be more vulnerable to crime.
The other takeaway, she said, is that any crimes against seniors must be reported.
Listen to the full interview:
With files from CBC Radio One's On The Coast