The Victoria Police Department recorded a 263 per cent increase in break and enters to residential sheds, yards and storage areas. (Unsplash)

Break and enters to sheds, storage units up 263 per cent: Victoria police

Residential break and enters also rise during pandemic

The latest statistics from the Victoria Police Department reveal a steep increase in the number of break and enters occurring in the city since the COVID-19 pandemic started.

Between March 15 and May 2, 2019, there were 30 break and enters of residential sheds, storage areas and yards. This year, the same period saw 109 such crimes – a 263 per cent jump.

There were also 47 residential break and enters – 124 per cent above the 21 that occurred during the same period in 2019.

Police say the increases “mirror other COVID-19 driven increases to property crime such as business break and enters and mischief.”

READ ALSO: Business break and enters up 567 per cent during pandemic: Victoria police

But both reports are primarily incidents where thieves don’t enter the “living areas of residences,” according to VicPD.

“Instead, thieves are focused on high-value items such as bicycles, tech (phones, laptops, small appliances like vacuums and electronics) as well as tools often found in basements sheds, outbuildings and storage lockers,” says VicPD spokesperson Bowen Osoko. “Many of these types of items have been recovered alongside drugs like fentanyl and methamphetamine over the last month by our Strike Force unit.”

Police offer three key tips for protecting property:

  1. Photograph bikes, tech and tools. Record the serial numbers and keep them on file.
  2. Strengthen locks on sheds and storage units.
  3. Make your property friendly but private, with short hedges, plants, fences and lights.

In the event there is a break and enter on your property and your items are stolen, police ask you give them a call. Without suspect information or surveillance images, the crime can be reported online or by using the VicPD Connect app.

READ ALSO: Police seize more than 20 weapons after spike in property crimes leads to Saanich home

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