The smashing spree continues in Downtown Victoria after another business was broken into this week.
The Victoria Police Department says officers were notified of the smash and grab shortly after 10 a.m. on Tuesday, January 26. Patrol officers discovered a broken window at a restaurant in the 800-block of Fort Street.
After investigating, officers found that thieves had broken a window after the businesses closed the night before.
The suspects then stole the entire cash register, making off with a small amount of money. The empty cash register was discovered a short distance away.
In response to requests from the downtown business community to Community Resource Officers, VicPD’s Analysis and Intelligence Section provided crime statistics.
According to the report, 2020 was the second-highest year for reports of break and enters into downtown Victoria businesses in an 11-year period, dating back to 2010.
|Downtown Victoria Business Break and Enters|
Business break and enters have also been on the rise over the past four months, with January of 2021 seeing the largest spike in incidents, says VicPD.
Between January 1 and January 27 of 2021, there were 37 business break-and-enters in Victoria and Esquimalt.
In December of 2020, there were 26 break-and-enters in the same area. In November there were 16 break and enters, and in October there were 18.
VicPD says officers are working with the Downtown Victoria Business Association (DVBA) to help address these ongoing smash and grab crimes. In addition to increasing proactive patrols in the business district where possible, investigators are continuing to follow active leads and search for suspects.
Victoria’s mayor, Lisa Helps, has previously said downtown is normally a safe place to be and this latest increase in crime is due to one person, who needs to be caught. She’s said she has full confidence in the VicPD.
“They catch criminals. That’s what they do. They’re good at it,” Helps previously told CHEK News.
Although VicPD investigators hope to catch those responsible soon, it’s not just the City of Victoria facing a new wave of crime. Officers across Greater Victoria have seen a marked increase of break and enters to businesses where thieves gain entry by smashing glass.
“No business is proving to be too small to be targeted by thieves,” said the VicPD in a release on Thursday.
While the man suspected to be behind many glass-breaking crimes in Victoria has been identified, VicPD says this is not the same person breaking into businesses and stealing.
“His crimes are different than the glass smash-break-and-enters and did not appear to be motivated by money. The glass smash break-and-enters are focused on stealing valuables from businesses,” said Cst. Cam MacIntyre, spokesperson for the VicPD.
While this man is known to police, VicPD says his goal doesn’t seem to include stealing money, so they are looking for a different suspect.
In order to help businesses protect themselves from thieves and criminals, the VicPD have release a set of steps and recommendations which include:
- Remove valuables from your business where possible when you close.
- If you cannot remove valuables or merchandise, move it out of view from all windows.
- Empty your cash drawer and leave it clearly displayed in a window.
- Review your surveillance system to ensure your system is working, is of useful resolution, and captures all potential areas of entry.
- Review your alarm company contact information to ensure you’ll be contacted in the event an alarm is triggered.
- Report damaged windows and doors, even if entry isn’t made. You can report these online 24 hours a day through online reporting and through our VicPD Connect App.
- Download our VicPD Connect App for alerts and easy reporting of break and enter attempts.
- Talk with your business neighbours, ask if they’ve had damaged windows, doors or other break-in attempts and share this list with them.
If you have information about this incident or any of the break-ins, you are asked to call the VicPD Report Desk at (250) 995-7654 extension 1.
To report what you know anonymously, please call Greater Victoria Crime Stopper at 1-800-222-8477.