Rising Incidents of Domestic Violence in Toronto During COVID-19 is Alarming, Police Say

As the weeks pass by with key cities in quarantine, more and more people are having a challenging time staying indoors and coping with the COVID-19 pandemic. While there is the good news that overall crime rate dropped 13% when comparing March 2020 to March 2019, there is a marked increase for domestic incidents such as domestic violence, stunt driving, and vehicle theft.

Rising Numbers of Crime

Authorities are concerned about the rising numbers of certain crimes since the start of the COVID-19 epidemic. Below is a breakdown:

  • 45% increase in commercial breaks and enters
  • 44% increase in vehicle theft
  • 22% increase in domestic incidents
  • 60% increase in stunt driving incidents of people driving above the speed limit or more than 50 kilometres per hour

York police spokesperson Andy Pattenden told CBC Toronto that the above numbers are truly troubling, saying that the marked increase in domestic incidents could be attributed to more people staying home and thus, spending more time in closed quarters for extended periods of time. Empty streets due to social distancing and closed businesses were cited as possible reasons for the increase in stunt driving and breaking and entering. Pattenden added that the authorities are hoping that people can be more patient and look forward towards the future when the threat of COVID-19 would be finally over, even if it may take longer than anticipated. Note that the numbers shared above are not yet the official statistics according to the police as they are unaudited.

Impaired Driving and Fraud on the Decline

Because of the limited movement of people, some crimes are decreasing. The police reports that fraud and impaired driving are seeing an overall decrease since the onset of COVID-19, although the numbers of COVID-19 scams may askew perception. Below are the unofficial figures for the crimes that have decreased in number since the onset of the pandemic.

  • 32% decrease in traffic violations
  • 29% decrease in impaired driving
  • 16% decrease in overall frauds
  • 13% decrease in weapons offences such as shooting

Adapting to COVID-19 Changes

The York police said that they are trying to adjust to the changing crime statistic so that they can provide better service to the Toronto community. Part of the changes the police are adapting to are complaints about stores staying open, with people making up to 200 calls a day to report non-essentials businesses that are staying open or to report people who are not maintaining physical distance and failing to isolate themselves. There are no charges filed for reports like these, but the police are also trying to come up with ways to work with the community to adjust to new provisions related to COVID-19.

More Help on the Way

Some good news is that Ontario Attorney General Doug Downey announced that the province will be providing $2.7 million in funds to help victims of domestic violence, stating that they recognize that the home is not always the safest place for those who are experiencing domestic violence in these trying times. Another $1.3 million was also allocated to upgrade technology so that courts and tribunals can operate remotely and be better equipped to handle the changing patterns of criminal activity related to COVID-19.

Have you been charged with domestic violence? Contact us today and let us walk you through how our team of lawyers may be able to help you.

Article Source: Haywood Hunt & Associates Inc.