If you belong to one of those community-news Facebook pages, you’d think crime was out of control in Edmonton. Porch pirates caught on tape! Strangers spotted walking through the alleys! Garage break-ins and vandalized vehicles!
But, according to research from Statistics Canada, COVID-19 has had a major impact on crime.
Truth is, crime rates across the country have gone way down since we started locking down. It makes a lot of sense; it’s a lot harder to break in to someone’s home if, well, homeowners aren’t going out to work or to shows or their kids’ events.
What StatsCan did was compare crime reports from March-October 2019 (pre-pandemic) to March-October 2020 (when we were all bunkered down). Across Canada’s major cities, violations went from 607,628 in 2019 to 500,795 in 2020. That’s a 17.6 per cent drop in reported crime.
Robberies were down by one quarter. Sexual assault reporting was down by almost 20 per cent. (It’s important to note that “reporting” of sexual assaults is down — because we do understand that it is very difficult for victims of sex crimes to come forward.)
But, with the overall drop in the crime rate, we need to ask — was there an increase in people watching Law and Order reruns?
This article appears in the April 2021 issue of Edify.