As the COVID-19 pandemic brought normal life to a halt for many in the community, crime in Delta fell for the second straight quarter.
According to stats released late last week by the Delta Police Department, key crime and public safety indicators remained below normal for April through June 2020 as compared to the same period last year.
Persons offences — crimes such as assault, sexual assault, arson and robbery — were down 22 per cent, with 187 recorded compared to 241 in 2019. These kinds of crimes had been on the rise since 2018, but fell 14 per cent in the first quarter of 2020 compared to the same period last year.
Residential break-and-enters were also down — 36 per cent compared to the same quarter in 2019 — with police recording just 30 offences.
“These are typically crimes of opportunity, and with greater numbers of people at home due to the pandemic, there’s less opportunity,” Cris Leykauf, public affairs manager for the Delta Police Department, said in a press release.
Break-and-enters to commercial properties, on the other hand, jumped from 30 in Q2 of 2019 to 39 this quarter. While that is an increase of 10 from last quarter, year-to-date these numbers are slightly below normal.
One of the biggest drops overall — 40 per cent — was in the number of collisions reported to police: only 157 compared to 260 during the same time last year. The number of violation tickets issued dropped as well, to 996, compared to 2,755 in Q2 of 2019.
“As the reality of life under the pandemic set in during April, our officers prioritized education over handing out violation tickets,” Leykauf explained. “We recognized that many drivers may have found themselves suddenly out of work, or facing significant new stresses, and officers did not want to add to the burdens being experienced by the public. It wasn’t something we wanted to advertise though, for obvious reasons. However now that the roads are getting busier, we’re ramping up enforcement efforts to keep drivers and pedestrians safe.”
Thefts from auto remained nearly unchanged in the second quarter, down just one per cent from the same time last year, with 176 incidents reported to police.
“This is one of the most common crime types we see in Delta, and again is considered a crime of opportunity,” Leykauf said. “Thieves will walk along in the middle of the night, trying door handles of vehicles parked on the street or in driveways. If the door is unlocked they will literally steal anything — spare change, charging cords [etc.]. Our advice: leave your vehicle empty if you choose to leave it unlocked.”