Burnaby RCMP – Policing through the pandemic


2020-04-28 13:25 PDT

As we continue to work through the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Burnaby RCMP would like to provide an update to residents in relation to crime statistics, changes to Front Counter service at the detachment and our focus on ensuring frontline priority call response is maintained.

Crime through the pandemic

Burnaby RCMP’s Crime Analysts have reviewed statistics from mid-March to mid-April, focusing on crime types such as break and enters to homes, businesses and also calls related to domestic violence. This timeframe was chosen as it falls into the period when public health orders came into effect and while it is too short of a timeline to accurately determine any trends, we have noted both increases and decreases in these files. All of the data outlined below is based on crimes reported, not investigative outcomes or charges and is subject to change as investigations continue.

Police have noted a small increase (eight files) in relation to domestic violence calls. It is important to note that these calls may not only relate to intimate partner violence but also to violence involving other family members too. We are aware that along with the current COVID-19 pandemic there are additional stresses at home and that those suffering violence may not be able to access community resources in person. Burnaby RCMP’s Victim Services Unit is still operational 7-days a week. Staff from the unit are available via phone at 604-646-9700 and can provide immediate assistance to anyone suffering from violence at home.

We recently issued a news release with a list of other agencies available to assist and their current hours and service level through the COVID-19 pandemic. This list can be accessed here on the Burnaby RCMP Website. 

Police have seen a decrease (seven files) in relation to break and enters to homes and an increase (60 files) in relation to calls for service for break and enters to business. This increase is not necessarily due to the ongoing pandemic as break and enters to businesses have been increasing in Burnaby since October 2019 which has resulted in the increase of 122 in March / April 2020, versus 62 in March / April 2019.

In response to this increase, Burnaby RCMP’s Prolific Offender Suppression Team and Community Response Team have been targeting known offenders in Burnaby since October with significant success including the arrest of two alleged offenders in November and also disrupting known property offenders through proactive patrols in January.

In recent weeks, in order to deter crime to businesses, Burnaby RCMP’s Community Response Team, Bike Unit, Frontline and Prolific Offender Suppression Team have been conducting regular patrols of businesses to ensure buildings are secure and that anyone looking to take advantage of closed businesses is stopped from doing so. We have already seen success with these patrols.

Burnaby RCMP officers checking businesses

For example, in the last few weeks we have seen arrests on outstanding warrants and people arrested for breaching conditions related to items they had in their possession. In early April a quick response by our Frontline officers resulted in the arrest of a man who had allegedly broken into an industrial complex.

While our proactive patrols are resulting in success, Burnaby RCMP is continuing to engage with the business community and local residents through our Blockwatch programme in order to continue to deter crime in the City.

Burnaby RCMP’s Crime Prevention Unit and Communications Section have worked alongside local business groups and provided posters as a deterrent to potential thieves. More information on this poster campaign can be found here on the Burnaby RCMP website

Burnaby RCMP poster campaign

It is too early to evaluate to what extent COVID-19 has impacted other crime types and our analysts are continuing to monitor our calls for service.

Keeping our staff healthy

Burnaby RCMP has been following all recommendations from the Provincial Health Officer in relation to regular handwashing and physical distancing at the detachment. A number of employees are also working from home.

Burnaby RCMP has also redeployed our Youth Investigative Team to Frontline units and a number of our plainclothes sections such as the Prolific Offender Suppression Team and Strike Force are supplementing our Frontline units as and when needed.

Front Counter Services

Burnaby RCMP continues to offer limited front counter services out of the main detachment at 6355 Deer Lake Avenue. This is in order to ensure the safety of our employees and to maintain physical distancing.

Burnaby RCMP front counter

All Community Police Office locations are still closed to the public however our officers continue to work from these locations to respond to calls for service. The services currently being offered at the Front Counter include:

Burnaby RCMP Events

While we continue our visibility in the community through foot patrols and bike patrols, we have had to make the difficult decision to cancel or postpone some of our upcoming community events. This is in keeping with guidelines from the Provincial Health Officer. The following Burnaby RCMP led events in the community will not be going ahead in the coming weeks.

We encourage residents to stay tuned to @BurnabyRCMP on Twitter for updates on events and our activities in the community.

Finally, we want to thank our community for the support you have shown us through these last few weeks, in particular recently as we mourned the loss of a colleague in Nova Scotia.

We ask our community to continue following guidelines around physical distancing, staying home if you are sick and washing your hands regularly. In the words of the Provincial Health Officer Doctor Bonnie Henry, This is our time to be kind, to be calm, and to be safe.

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