Surrey Mounties are reporting a “small increase” in domestic violence calls over the past month, as people are holed up at home on account of the pandemic.
“It is too early to evaluate to what extent COVID-19 has impacted these or any other crime types, however our crime analysts continue to monitor our calls for service on a daily basis,” Corporal Elenore Sturko said Tuesday.
She said while four weeks is “too short of a timeline” to accurately determine trends, the Surrey RCMP had nine “additional” domestic violence calls.
Meantime, Crime Stoppers has also noticed a rise in domestic violence during the pandemic.
“With no sign yet of the stay-at home orders being lifted, people may know of friends, neighbours, or even relative strangers down the street who may be suffering abuse at the hands of a spouse or partner,” said Linda Annis, executive director of Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers. “Many people don’t want to get involved, but an anonymous tip to Crime Stoppers may put an end to it, or even save a life.”
Vancouver’s Battered Women’s Support Services has reported a 300 per cent spike in calls to its crisis line since the COVID-19 outbreak began, according to a Crime Stoppers press release.
“With the pandemic deepening and domestic violence worsening here in B.C and around the world, we should all be vigilant. If you know someone who’s a victim, an anonymous call to Crime Stoppers means the information will get to someone who can investigate,” Annis said.
Anonymous tips can be made to Crime Stoppers at 1-855-448-8477, and 1-800-222-8477, or online at solvecrime.ca
Sturko also noted decreases in auto theft and theft from vehicles (41 less files), and an increase in business break and enters (48 additional files) compared to the same period in 2019.
“Please note that this data is based on crimes reported and not investigative outcomes or charges; it is also subject to scoring changes as investigations advance,” she said.
Surrey RCMP’s first quarter crime statistics are expected to be released next week.
Meantime, Sturko says increased daily police patrols around businesses closed because of the pandemic has to date resulted in more than 700 security checks since March 27) and since the launch of the COVID-19 Compliance with Enforcement Team, along with Surrey Bylaws enforcement officers, to ensure compliance health orders, there have been 4,280 “proactive visits” during patrols from March 26 to April 14.
She said police have an “increased focus on managing known prolific property crime offenders in the community.
“Our officers with the Police Mental Health and Outreach Team continue to seek out vulnerable people who may be suffering from mental health issues, addiction or homelessness. Those in need are referred key services like shelter, food, addiction or medical treatment,” Sturko said. “Our Mobile Street Enforcement Team has also maintained a highly visible police presence with foot and bike patrols throughout the city.”
Also, help is available through Victim Services, the Family Youth Resource Support Team (FYRST) and Parent Helpline (604-599-7800).
“The Surrey RCMP is taking proactive steps to ensure that the safety of Surrey residents will not be compromised during the pandemic,” Sturko said.