At the start of the pandemic, downtown Victoria saw an escalation in crime. However, recent data indicates that the crime rate in most urban centres, including Victoria, is on the decline, but there seems to be a disconnect between reality and perception.
giant bike Store owner Tyson Schley is one of many companies that stepped up security measures as crime began to spike. Anyone entering their store will be faced with a locked door and will have to ring the doorbell first.
“We put in automatic blinds that sort of closed at night, sort of out of sight, out of mind, darkening the store at night, so there’s no kind of impulsive crashing of the windows to try to grab things. So it was really good.
After a spike in incidents downtown, things seem calmer now, but Schley says he’s still suspicious.
“It’s a cost of doing business. Which is unfortunate. We shouldn’t have to. But, you have to do it.
Since July 2021, calls to the police, including assaults and threats, have been found to be on the decline, according to newly released crime statistics for Victoria.
Robberies, sexual assaults and assaults on police officers have remained relatively low and stable throughout the pandemic.
Despite downward crime trends, many people walking the streets of Victoria on Thursday still don’t feel entirely safe while downtown in certain areas.
SFU political scientist Stewart Perst said it takes time for the public to change their minds about crime trends, and governments need to help with perceptions.
“The fact that the government has to address this concern, even if the general trend is one that we can be positive about.”
While random and violent crime is down, it may take time for public perception to change.
READ: Hate crimes up 37% in 2020, other crimes down: Statistics Canada
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