Crime in Canada decreased significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic last year, with Regina and area leading the way.
Crime in the Regina metropolitan area, which includes communities like Lumsden and Emerald Park, fell 27 percent in 2020 compared to 2019. The sharpest drop in the country.
Regina also experienced a significant drop in its crime severity index, a measure of severe crimes like homicide and sexual assault, as it fell 20 percent, which also led the country.
Regina Police Chief Evan Bray while the pandemic had an impact on the decline in crime, there were other factors as well.
“A big part of the reason that we saw a decrease in crime in 2020, it wasn’t the pandemic, it was the change in people’s behaviour,” said Bray. “People were at home more, were much more cognizant of where there vehicle was parked and their surroundings, and what they had in their vehicle in terms of possessions.”
Bray says as pandemic restrictions loosen and people start getting back together, crime will naturally increase.
While there may have been a lower number of sexual assaults in 2020, Bray says that doesn’t mean they didn’t happen as the crime usually goes unreported.
“Sexual assaults, often, can be tied to domestic and domestic challenges we have in the community, and we saw domestics rise through the pandemic,” said Bray. “Those types of social challenges were very prevalent through the pandemic and domestic conflict was one of those. Not to say that there’s a direct tie or a direct correlation, but it is a factor that we look at.”
Even though Regina’s crime severity index fell in 2020, it still ranks at the fifth highest in Canada.