A report from Sidney/North Saanich RCMP before Sidney council Monday shows total crimes in Sidney rose four per cent in 2020 compared to 2019. (Black Press Media File)

A report from Sidney/North Saanich RCMP before Sidney council Monday shows total crimes in Sidney rose four per cent in 2020 compared to 2019. (Black Press Media File)

Property crimes down, crimes against persons up in Sidney in 2020

Figures show increase in cases involving assaults and domestic violence

Property crimes – the largest category of crimes in Sidney – declined in 2020 compared to 2019, but violent crimes against person including domestic violence increased last year compared to the previous year.

These findings appear in a new report from Sidney/North Saanich RCMP department before Sidney council. Overall, the report shows that criminal code offences rose by four per cent in 2020 compared to 2019.

Property crimes, which account for 47 per cent of total crimes in 2020 with 275 cases, dropped 22 per cent that year. Property crimes include commercial, residential and other break-and-enter, possession of stolen property, mischief, theft of vehicle, theft from vehicle, arson and fraud.

The 2020 figure appears “well below” the five-year average of 322 offences according to the report – marking a drop compared to previous years. Local police opened 354 files in 2019, 338 in 2018, 350 in 2017, 263 files in 2016 and 305 in 2015.

Looking at specific property crimes, cases of commercial and residential break-and-enter dropped by 71 and 79 per cent respectively in 2020 compared to 2019. Only the categories of fraud and theft (shoplifting) each recorded a six per cent increase.

Crimes against person, a category that includes attempted murder, assault, sex offence, robbery and abduction, rose 30 per cent in 2020 compared to 2019, going “slightly above” the five-year average of 106 offences. “It should be noted that 2019 was disproportionately low as compared to the previous (four) years.”

RELATED: Sidney/North Saanich RCMP responded to more mental health calls during COVID-19 pandemic

The report blames the increase in crimes against persons on an “increase in assaults, domestic violence, harassment and uttering threats” with cases of assault up six per cent (32 to 34 files) and domestic violence up 13 per cent (15 to 17 files) in 2020 compared to 2019. Cases of harassment rose 71 per cent (jumping from 14 to 24 files) while cases of uttering threats rose 130 per cent (jumping from 10 to 23 cases). Crimes against person account for 19 per cent of all cases in 2020.

These figures give some empirical support to theories that COVID-19 restrictions would cause a spike in more aggressive behaviour, especially in familiar situations. But the report also finds more broadly that the detachment’s coverage area has not seen “a significant change in crime trends” because of COVID-19.

Other criminal code offences (which account for 32 per cent of all criminal code offences) meanwhile rose 68 per cent in 2020 compared to 2019 with the report attributing the increase to “substantial increases” in cause disturbances. This last category in turn relates directly to findings elsewhere in the report assessing the impact of COVID-19 on police calls for service.

While calls for police dropped eight per cent across the detachment’s coverage area and police found “no significant change in crime trends,” police recorded a 20 per cent increase in what the report calls “public disorder occurrences.”

The report notes that these calls includes complaints of cause disturbances, panhandling, public intoxication, property damage and unwanted persons.


Do you have a story tip? Email: vnc.editorial@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

West Shore RCMP is asking for the public’s help in locating Mackenzie Courchene, a Langford teenager.
MISSING: Mackenzie Courchene last seen in Langford on March 2

West Shore RCMP is asking for the public’s help in locating the Langford teenager

Rendering of the proposed Esquimalt public safety building. (Courtesy Township of Esquimalt)
Esquimalt blazes new trail toward modern public safety building

Township using alternative approval process for first time to gauge public support for proposal

Landmarks such as Howard the giant gnome at Galey's Farm in Saanich make a stunning backdrop for celebratory dance in the Greater Victoria Festival Society trailer for its coming Dance Victoria campaign. (Screeshot/Greater Victoria Festival Society)
Residents’ videos help campaign Dance Across Victoria

Celebratory dance clips to be compiled into Greater Victoria Festival Society video

Reynolds Secondary School’s spring musical Freaky Friday features Grace Fouracre as teen Ellie Blake (left) who swaps bodies with her overworked mother, Katherine, played by Nadia Lurie. (Photo courtesy Reynolds Secondary School)
Saanich high school goes virtual with Freaky Friday musical

Reynolds Secondary theatre program to livestream performances March 9-12

Saanich Fire Department. Black Press Media File Photo
Fire displaces three Saanich families from two homes

Saanich firefighters found the fire had spread to a neighbouring home upon arriving

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
‘It’s been a good week’: Tam hopeful on vaccines as pandemic anniversary nears

Tam says the addition of two new vaccines will help Canadians get immunized faster

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

The Port Alice pulp mill has been dormant since 2015. (North Island Gazette file photo)
Parts recycled, life returning to inlet as as old Port Alice mill decommissioned

Bankruptcy company oversees de-risking the site, water treatment and environmental monitoring

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

(Black Press Media files)
Medicine gardens help Victoria’s Indigenous kids in care stay culturally connected

Traditional plants brought to the homes of Indigenous kids amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Personal protective equipment is seen in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
$16.9 million invested to improve worker safety, strengthen B.C.’s food supply chain

Money to be used for social distancing, personal protective equipment, cleaning, and air circulation

Most Read