40 arrested in Vancouver commercial break-ins amid COVID-19 outbreak

Commercial break-and-enters spike in Vancouver during COVID-19 crisis
With many businesses shuttered, commercial break-ins have increased in Vancouver, which can be a crushing blow to small businesses already struggling with the crisis. Rumina Daya reports.

Forty suspects have been arrested and charged over the past few weeks in connection with break-and-enters at Vancouver businesses during the COVID-19 crisis, police say.

While property crime has declined overall, police said they’ve recorded a spike in commercial break-ins after physical-distancing measures were implemented to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Local artists transform boarded up storefronts in Gastown
Local artists transform boarded up storefronts in Gastown

Shuttered stores along Robson Street and other areas have boarded up their windows, as a major drop in foot traffic has raised the prospect of crimes of opportunity.

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Police are asking businesses to upgrade their locks, move merchandise away from windows, use window shutters, and increase outdoor lighting in an effort to discourage break-ins and theft.

— With files from Simon Little