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Guelph police report shows COVID-19 impact on calls for service

Guelph police says there have been increases and decreases in certain calls due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. Matt Carty / Global Guelph

A report by Guelph police shows the impact the COVID-19 pandemic had on their calls for service.

The report prepared by the service’s research analyst shows decreases and increases in certain calls that were likely caused by the measures put in place to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

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The effects cannot be connected to the pandemic directly without “strict methodological controls,” the report stated. But it did add there were no other significant factors that could account for the changes.

These include a decrease in home break-ins but an increase in thefts from vehicles. The report said it was likely because people and their vehicles were at home more and opportunities for thieves shifted from homes to vehicles.

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Shoplifting was also lower, as were vehicle collisions, in part due to many businesses being closed.

The service said it also saw an increase in calls related to individuals with mental illnesses likely due to increased stressors related to the pandemic and access to services being reduced.

There were also increases in domestic violence and child custody matters.

The report said this could be a result of people being at home together longer, reduced access to support, and questions around changing custody and maintaining physically distancing.

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The services also reported increases in unwanted person calls due to maintaining social distancing.

The report stated that it is expected that these trends will likely continue for the rest of the year and it will show in its year-end calls for service report.

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Read more: Domestic disturbance calls jump amid coronavirus, as many advocates feared

Guelph police also said they have laid two charges in relation to the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act that was enacted in response to the pandemic.

Since the pandemic began, Guelph police have responded to around 40,000 calls for service.

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