Vancouver police target property crime, arrest 26 suspects in three months

‘We have been able to target repeat offenders who threaten retail staff with violence in committing their crimes’

An ongoing effort targeting property crime in Vancouver’s downtown core has netted police 26 arrests in three months.

“Since December, our patrol officers have been working closely with our partners in retail security around the city,” media relations officer Const. Tania Visintin said in a press release. “We have a common goal, and that is to target violent property crime offenders and protect retailers from financial loss.”

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The 26 arrests have resulted in 150 criminal charges, including: breach of probation, theft from auto, theft under $5,000, possession of break in instruments and possession of stolen property.

Vancouver Police Department has targeted property crime and shoplifters in recent months.

In November, the department completed a three-week project targeting shoplifters in downtown Vancouver. That initiative resulted in 25 arrests.

And in early December, the department partnered with the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association and the Robson Street Business Association to launch the Christmas Crime Team.

“Thanks to our partnerships with the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association and loss prevention officers at multiple retail stores, we have been able to target repeat offenders who threaten retail staff with violence in committing their crimes,” Visintin said.

Late last year, the department expressed concern over the level of violence associated with shoplifting in the city.

In one case, a man caught stealing alcohol from the B.C. Liquor Store on Commercial Drive and Grant Street pulled a knife on the store’s loss prevention officer before fleeing. He was later arrested by police.

In another case, a man allegedly trying to steal clothing from the Lululemon store on West Fourth Avenue and Arbutus Street threatened that store’s loss prevention officer with bear spray.

By mid-December, there had been 2,000 reported cases of shoplifting in Vancouver in 2019, surpassing 2018’s total of 1,930.

Vehicle break-ins are also on the rise. Vancouver Police Department Wednesday released its year-end crime stats for 2019, which saw a 12.9 per cent increase in theft from auto incidents.

And that trend has continued into 2020 — the first seven days of the year saw 258 car break-ins in Vancouver.

The majority of the thefts were concentrated downtown between Main Street and Burrard Street, with pockets Mount Pleasant, Kitsilano, Fairview, Kensington-Cedar Cottage and Sunset were also hit hard by thieves between Jan. 1 and 7. The statistics represent only those break-ins reported to police.

—with files from Mike Howell

@JessicaEKerr

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