New data released by the Victoria Police Department spells trouble for Victoria and Esquimalt businesses.
In 2020, there were 89 reports of break and enters on Victoria businesses – a number just shy of 2015’s record-breaking 93 break-ins. It’s also a 31 per cent increase over the 2019 total of 68 incidents.
Even worse, in just the first 27 days of January this year there were 37 business break and enters – nearly half of 2020’s entire total. And, that number continues to grow. On Jan. 28 shortly before 11 p.m., police were called to the 100-block of Wilson Street where they discovered a broken window and emptied cash register.
VicPD didn’t have monthly statistics for all of 2020 readily available, but said the number of incidents have jumped from 18 in October and 16 in November to 26 in December. Already in January, there’s been a 42 per cent increase in cases over last month.
On Thursday (Jan. 28), VicPD officers arrested one man who they believe has been involved in a number of break and enters, but officers noted that they believe there are more culprits at large. This man, 26-year-old Brandon Paul, faces six charges of break and enter and one charge of mischief.
Speaking to media on Jan. 21, Mayor Lisa Helps said police would be out in greater numbers downtown and wearing high visibility vests. She also announced that council is in discussions with the Downtown Victoria Business Association to create a one-time relief fund for targeted businesses. Further details on the fund have not been released, but Helps said it will likely be distributed on a first-come, first served basis.
This decision came after a man went on a glass-smashing rampage through downtown the day after he was arrested and released by police for stealing a water taxi and cruising it down the Gorge Waterway.
Police recommend businesses take a number of measures to protect against thieves, including removing valuables at closing, displaying an empty cash drawer in sight of windows, reviewing surveillance systems, and reporting any damage to police even if an entry isn’t made.
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