New study shows higher incidence of violent crime in poor Vancouver neighborhoods and robbery in wealthier neighborhoods

A new study co-authored by researchers at Simon Fraser University has found an increase in violent crime in Vancouver’s poorer neighborhoods during the pandemic, while wealthier areas have seen an uptick in theft-related crime .

“During the pandemic, we have seen that, overall, crime tends to increase more in marginalized areas of the city,” Professor Martin Andresen said. in a report.

Andresen and co-author Tarah Hodgkinson of Wilfrid Laurier University found that between March 1, 2020 and February 28, 2021, arson, assault, robbery and weapons offenses increased in the downtown, as well as in the neighborhoods of Strathcona and Mount Pleasant.

Meanwhile, the average monthly number of theft incidents has declined across Vancouver.

According to the study, the Downtown Central Business District and surrounding areas have seen a decrease in auto theft and vehicle theft.

Andresen says this can be attributed to the fact that many businesses were closed during parts of the pandemic and employees had to work from home.

“For people who ended up living in Vancouver and working downtown, they weren’t downtown anymore, where a lot of these crimes normally happened,” he said.

However, more affluent areas, such as Kerrisdale, Dunbar-Southlands and West Point Grey, have seen a slight increase in theft-related incidents.

The researchers also found that people living in more deprived areas suffered significant job losses related to the pandemic.

Andresen and Tarah Hodgkinson tracked 10 types of crime in 22 Vancouver neighborhoods and used open-source data from the Vancouver Police Department and the City of Vancouver, as well as census data from Statistics Canada, to find out how Socio-economic factors may have played a role in the increase in crime.

“What it shows here is that we need to provide more support to these populations in Vancouver during an exceptional event like this pandemic, because they are the ones who are the hardest hit,” Andresen told CBC News. during a telephone interview.

At a press conference on Wednesday, after being repeatedly asked about security concerns following a New Year’s Eve attack on a young woman, Mayor Kennedy Stewart said he had full confidence in the Vancouver Police Department and doing everything he could to keep people safe.

“I think Vancouver is safe. It’s one of the safest cities in the world, however, we can always do more,” he said.

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