Victoria, BC – Last week, VicPD released statistics related to various offences that compared current trends to those from a year ago. Today’s follow-up release is in response to questions from the public, media and VicPD Block Watch members who are seeking more information regarding specific residential property offences.
For the period of March 15th to May 2nd, thefts from residential properties, including sheds, storage areas and yards, were up 263% compared to the same period in 2019. Residential break and enters (break-ins of homes) are also up 124% for that same period. Both of these increases mirror other COVID-19 driven increases to property crime such as business break and enters and mischiefs released on Friday.
Importantly, while reported residential break and enters have seen a significant increase, both those reports and the thefts from property areas like sheds and yards are primarily incidents where thieves are not entering living areas of residences themselves. Instead, thieves are focussed on high value items such as bicycles, tech (phones, laptops, small appliances like vacuums and electronics) as well as tools often found in basements sheds, outbuildings and storage lockers. Many of these types of items have been recovered alongside drugs like fentanyl and methamphetamine over the last month by our Strike Force unit.
|Break and Enter Residential
|Break and Enter Other
While the large increase in these break and enters and thefts is concerning, there are three key steps you can take to protect yourself, your family and your bikes, tech and tools.
- Photograph bikes, important tech and tools and record serial numbers. Emailing them to yourself makes for an easy to find record in the event they are stolen. Marking these items with contact information also makes it easy for officers to reach you when they do recovered your stolen property.
- Strengthen locks and lighting on sheds and storage areas. If an item is really high value, it may be safer inside your residence or unit.
- Make your property friendly but clearly private with short hedges, plants, fences and lights.
What to do if your shed is broken into and your items stolen
In the event that someone does enter your property, please don’t hesitate to give us a call. For incidents where you don’t have any suspect information like surveillance images or a description, you can even report the incident through our online reporting service, or by using our VicPD Connect App. Reporting these incidents helps us identify trends, target prolific offenders, link incidents, return recovered stolen property and proactively deploy officers to your neighbourhood. You can report a crime online here. You can download our VicPD Connect App here.
How to make your property less attractive to property thieves without turning it into a fortress
You can help make your property less attractive to property thieves by creating clear demarcations of public and non-public areas. Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) is a comprehensive, practical approach to crime prevention. The implementation of key CPTED principles addresses the areas of residences usually targeted by criminals. By making simple physical changes to the environment around your residence, you can drastically reduce or eliminate criminal behaviour. These changes reduce your chances of becoming a victim of crime. You can learn more here.
Activating the power of your VicPD Block Watch Community
VicPD’s Block Watch network is a powerful community of neighbours helping neighbours. There’s a strong, proud tradition of VicPD Block Watch participants looking out for each other particularly in Esquimalt and many neighbourhoods in Victoria. Households, apartments or condominiums on a block form a communication chain aided by a map of names, telephone numbers and addresses. Participants watch out for each others’ homes and report suspicious activities to the police and each other. This communication is crucial in reducing the likelihood of residential crime. Joining a VicPD Block Watch is free and takes only a few minutes You can learn more about joining a VicPD Block Watch in your neighbourhood here.
In the meantime, our officers continue to respond to the increase in property crime. These response include special duty patrols in the Topaz Park Area, Operations Council Responsive Patrol areas including a current focus on Burnside Gorge, working with partners to address common drivers for property crime and the deployment of our Strike Force covert investigation and operations unit to target prolific property offenders.