As COVID-19 restrictions lift in Saskatchewan, property crimes in Regina are on the rise.
According to the latest numbers from the Regina Police Service, crimes like arson and vehicle theft have seen significant increases in the first half of 2021.
Police Chief Evan Bray says things like vehicle theft are starting to increase as more people return back to their normal lives.
“As we slowly emerge from the pandemic, we’re seeing behaviour starting to, I hesitate to say return to normal, but it is. People are going outside, people are going to events, people are working from the office again, and we experienced some challenges with, whether it’s break-and-enter to a vehicle, or an attempted theft of a vehicle, those opportunities are starting to create themselves again.”
Bray says vehicle thefts are still well below last year’s numbers but adds those numbers could continue to increase through the summer.
One particular crime seeing a huge boost is arson. There have been 151 cases of arson so far in 2021, which is more than double the ten-year average of 67.
Bray says with the rise in arsons, it doesn’t necessarily mean there’s more arsonists.
“Arsons are a crime where we usually see a small number of people that cause a large number of incidents to happen,” said Bray. “Unsecured, unlocked, vacant dwelling houses, garages, excess garbage in back alleys, these are targets for people who commit arson, so we’re also trying to work from an education perspective with our community to try and limit those opportunities to happen.”
Bray says the most important thing people can do as we go back to normal is to remember to be vigilant with their belongings.
“We just have to be aware of things that we can do to protect ourselves and our property, and thus take away opportunities for people to steal your car for example,” said Bray. “Vehicles tend to be a pressure point for us, so individuals can help us in this fight to keep our community safe and reduce crime by just protecting their own pieces of property,”