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Coronavirus pandemic increases demand for private security services in B.C.

Boarded-up shops seen on Vancouver's Robson Street.
Boarded-up shops seen on Vancouver's Robson Street. Global News

As industries across the country lay off staff amid the coronavirus pandemic, security companies are seeing an increase in demand for their services.

Vancouver police reported a spike in commercial break-ins at the end of March. In an interview with Simi Sara on CKNW, Robson Street Business Improvement Association executive director Teri Smith said the group has added additional security measures.

“We had been looking at our current security program and decided to go the route of an overnight mobile security during the hours of 10:30 p.m. through 6:30 a.m. to try and thwart that suspicious activity,” Smith said.

READ MORE: Top doctor ‘not against’ widespread mask use, as B.C.’s COVID-19 death toll hits 25

Security companies like Commissionaires are seeing an increase in demand for their services.

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“We’ve seen a lot of sectors having increased demand but in other sectors we’ve actually seen a reduction in some of those demands, so we’ve been feverishly balancing those two changes to our business and we’re actually seeing a lot of new business offerings coming through,” said Julie Power, the company’s vice-president of operations in British Columbia.

According to Powers, the role of security services is evolving to include screening services for businesses that want to prevent people with symptoms of COVID-19 from entering their business.

READ MORE: 800,000 restaurant jobs lost in Canada in March amid COVID-19, according to survey

That evolving role means they’re continuing to hire, even as the pandemic’s impact on the economy worsens.

“We’re actively hiring, we’re hiring today, we continue to hire every day. Our recruitment team has not slowed down on that,” Powers said, speaking with Sara on CKNW.

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