Saskatchewan

Regina bike thefts down 49% amid pandemic crime slowdown

It's prime bike-stealing season in Regina right now, but there are considerably fewer thefts than last year.

400 fewer bicycles reported stolen so far in 2020

There have been 424 bike thefts this year, compared to 824 over the same period in 2019. (Shane Ross/CBC)

It's prime bike-stealing season in Regina right now, but there are considerably fewer thefts than last year — about 49 per cent fewer, according to the latest statistics from the Regina Police Service.

From Jan. 1 to Aug. 14, only 424 bicycles were reported stolen. That compares to 824 over the same period last year.

The Regina Police Service has previously stated that crime was down about 20 per cent in the first half of the year, due in part to COVID-19.

That's especially the case with property crime, which was down about 30 per cent.

"I am sure COVID-19 has played a role [in the decline of bike thefts], since it has changed people's lives and routines, quite dramatically in some cases," police spokesperson Elizabeth Popowich said.

It may be that more residents are working from home and are more in touch with where their property is and whether or not it's secured, she said.

However, bikes continue to be stolen regularly.

Man charged with stealing 6 bicycles

On Friday, police said they arrested a 23-year-old man and charged him in connection with at least six bike thefts, plus other property crimes.

Police had a warrant for the man's arrest and when an officer spotted him on the east edge of the city, they set up a perimeter around the block.

It's alleged they saw the man ride a bike toward some multi-unit housing, and then he emerged from a parkade a little later with a different bike.

Police, with the assistance of a canine team, arrested the man and after a search, found break-in tools in a backpack.

The man appeared in court Friday afternoon facing 20 charges.

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