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Vancouver's 2023 Crime Trends: Property Thefts Up, Assaults Down

Updated: Feb 1

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The most recent Vancouver Crime trends and statistics from the Vancouver Police Department present a detailed picture of crime in the city.

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An Overview

In the first three months of 2023, property crime in Vancouver increased by 7.3%, rising from 7,533 incidents in the same period in 2022 to 8,083.

In contrast, assaults decreased by 2.1%, with reported incidents falling from 1,119 to 1,095, and robberies also saw a 7% decline, from 158 to 147 incidents.

Digging into the heart of Vancouver's crime data unveils a landscape where property crime is on the rise, yet assaults and robberies are in decline.

Detailed Crime Statistics for First Quarter of 2023

Property Crime

  • Increase: Property crime rose by 7.3%, with 8,083 incidents reported, up from 7,533 in the same period in 2022.

  • Historical Data: Break-ins to homes have decreased from 304 reports in 2019 to 191 in 2023. Vehicle break-ins also dropped significantly, from 3,855 in 2019 to 1,756 in 2023.

Assaults and Robberies

  • Decrease: Assaults fell by 2.1% to 1,095 incidents, and robberies declined by 7% to 147.

  • Trend Analysis: Assaults have increased from 930 in early 2019 to 1,095 in the same period in 2023. Robberies followed a similar trend.

Sexual Offences, Thefts & Hate Crimes

  • Sexual Offences: Sexual offences increased from 146 reports in early 2019 to 217 in 2023.

  • Thefts: Theft remained steady over five years, with over 2000 reported in the first three months annually.

  • Hate Crimes: Hate crimes remained steady, with a minor increase from 33 incidents in early 2022 to 34 in 2023.

Project Barcode Outcome Project Barcode is a police initiative to crack down on shoplifters in Vancouver. The project resulted in the arrest of 217 people with a combined total of 4,695 previous convictions, the recommendation of 278 criminal charges to Crown counsel, the recovery of $80,000 in stolen goods, and the seizure of 24 weapons.

  • Arrests: 217 individuals arrested, with a combined total of 4,695 previous convictions.

  • Recovered Goods: Police recovered $80,000 in stolen goods and seized 24 weapons.

Under-Reporting and Abandoned Calls

  • Issue: Under-reporting due to abandoned non-emergency calls remains a concern, impacting the accuracy of crime data.

  • Data: 7,480 non-emergency calls were abandoned, a 60% improvement from the first three months of 2022 but still significant.

Vancouver Crime Trends: Pandemic’s Impact on Crime Rates

Pandemic’s Impact on Crime Rates

The pandemic has significantly influenced crime trends in Vancouver, as evidenced by the following data.

  • During the height of public health restrictions, break-ins to vehicles dramatically decreased from 16,488 in 2019 to 7,038 in 2022.

  • Similarly, home break-ins saw a reduction from 1,392 in 2019 to 744 in 2022. This decline is attributed to more people staying at home, leading to fewer opportunities for burglaries and thefts.

However, the pandemic also brought about an anomaly.

  • In 2020, business break-ins spiked to 2,790, up from 2,446 in the previous year, as shutdowns left commercial properties vulnerable.

As health restrictions lift and the city navigates its return to pre-pandemic normalcy, a resurgence in property crimes is anticipated.

  • The first three months of 2023 already marked a 7.3% increase in property crime compared to the same period in 2022.

Violent Crime Trends

  • Increased Violent Crime: Violent crime increased from 4,523 incidents in 2019 to 4,789 in 2022.

  • Attempted Murder: Attempted murder cases returned to 2019 levels, with 20 recorded in 2022, compared to 10 in 2020 and 2021.

  • Robberies: Robberies increased from 626 in 2019 to 673 in 2022.

  • Neighborhood With The Most Assaults & Robberies: The two policing districts that include the West End, downtown business area, Granville Street entertainment strip, the Downtown Eastside, and the area that runs east to the Pacific National Exhibition grounds saw the majority of the assaults — 3,483 — in 2022. The same area saw the majority of robberies.

  • Stranger Assaults On The Rise: Assaults consistently comprise more than three out of every four violent crimes in Vancouver. The new police data does not separate so-called “stranger assaults,” a term used to describe a spate of unprovoked attacks on people in the city, which at one point averaged four per day.

  • Assaults steadily climbed from 930 between January and March 2019 to 1,095 reported in the same period in 2023.

  • Robberies increased from 125 in the first three months of 2019 to 147 in 2023.

  • Hate crimes reported remained almost the same, from 33 incidents in the first three months of the previous year to 34 for the same period this year.

  • Violent shoplifter incidents decreased 43.8% from 80 incidents in the first three months of the previous year to 45 this year.

How To Protect Your Home & Self

If you every feel yourself looking over your shoulder or concerned about leaving your family at home unprotected, I've gathered a list of the best security systems and personal safety products that can help you put eyes on your property and your loved ones.

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Now, it’s your turn to weigh in. How have you experienced these shifts in crime rates? Are there untapped solutions or perspectives we haven’t considered?

Drop your insights, stories, and opinions in the comments below.

Let’s keep this crucial conversation going, and together, protect the safety of our city.

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