York Regional Police (YRP) is reporting an overall drop in crimes during the COVID-19 pandemic, but says stunt driving, domestic incidents and vehicle thefts have all increased.
“While the reduction in overall traffic on our roads has resulted in a decrease in traffic violations, the empty streets have brought on in increase in stunt driving charges related to extremely dangerous and excessive speeds,” says Const. Laura Nicolle.
“As a result, YRP is making stunt driving offences a high priority to ensure the safety of our streets for those people who are driving to work or going out for essential items.” Anyone caught driving more than 50 kilometres per hour over the posted speed limit can expect to have their vehicle towed and their licence suspended immediately, YRP warns.
Overall, crime dropped about 18 per cent between March 1 and April 17 compared to the same time period in 2019, according to a YRP report. Traffic violations decreased by 35 per cent, impaired driving fell by 23 per cent and weapons offences dropped 14 per cent. But stunt driving charges have increased by 64 per cent, domestic incidents have increased 22 per cent and vehicle theft has risen 28 per cent.
“Domestic-related calls for service can range from a verbal argument between family members where police are called up to the most extreme cases of domestic violence,” Nicolle says. Anyone who is a victim of violence in their home is urged to contact police immediately or the Women’s Support Network 24-hours crisis line at 1-800-263-6734. Supports for victims of domestic violence is available at the Women’s Centre of York Region at http://www.wcyr.ca.
To prevent the theft of your vehicle, keep the doors locked and don’t leave keys inside. If possible, park your vehicle in a locked garage, as most vehicles are stolen from driveways.
YRP has responded to more than 1,400 complaints and laid 17 charges under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, which came into on March 17. “Officers have also been educating our community on the health recommendations to self-isolate and maintain physical distance, but charges will be laid if required,” Nicolle says.