Crime is down dramatically in Kelowna due to COVID-19 - InfoNews

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Crime is down dramatically in Kelowna due to COVID-19

RCMP Cpl. Jocelyn Noseworthy
April 28, 2020 - 6:30 PM

With more people working at home or in the house because they’ve lost their jobs due to COVID-19, Kelowna RCMP are getting a bit of a break from crime.

“We’re still quite busy,” RCMP communications officer Cpl. Jocelyn Noseworthy told iNFOnews.ca today, April 28. “The guys are doing a lot of patrolling around closed areas of businesses and still responding to a lot of calls. Fortunately we still have a lot of the small community feeling in Kelowna where people are watching out for each other’s property and looking out for what’s happening. We’re not getting a lot of opportunity for some of our more seasoned criminals to steal things. It’s been quite nice to see.”

The Kelowna detachment provided iNFOnews.ca with two sets of data, comparing this year up to April 14 to the same time period as last year but also the four-week period (March 15 to April 14) since the COVID-19 lockdown was imposed compared to last year.

It showed, for example, that residential break-ins were up five per cent, year to date over last year but down 16 per cent during the COVID-19 period.

That makes sense, Noseworthy said, because more people are in their homes.

The same pattern holds true with break-ins at businesses, which are up 13 per cent for the year but down 10 per cent during the lockdown.

“There’s been a little bit of a spike in thefts from construction zones in the last few weeks,” Noseworthy said. “That makes sense if you are looking for easy money to buy drugs or support whatever lifestyle you’re illegally doing. You can’t steal from stores. There’s not a whole lot of shoplifting opportunities available so you’ll see a lot of people transition to whatever they can grab for quick cash.”

That may be why bike thefts is one of only two categories that showed an increase during the lockdown. Those were up nine per cent in the last month and 18 per cent for the year.

“Don’t leave your bike lying on your front lawn,” Noseworthy said.

The only other category to show an increase during the lockdown was assault. It was up 22 per cent during the last month. That may not be indicative of COVID-19 since it was up 48 per cent for the year to date.

Domestic assault, while up by four per cent for the year actually fell by two per cent for the lockdown period.

That could be due to that fact that there are fewer opportunities for friends and family to notice something is wrong and report the crime, which is where a large number of complaints originate.

“Anecdotally speaking, it makes sense if you think about it,” Noseworthy said. “If you’re quarantined together, your opportunities to get away from the person who is abusing you aren’t necessary as easy as they normally would be. What you’re getting are the people who are quite concerned. You’re not getting the third party information you would normally get. You’re not getting the family calls you would normally get. People aren’t able to talk to each other as easily.”


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