Crime in Calgary significantly down during pandemic despite increase in gun violence, homicides: CPS
CALGARY -- Property and violent crimes are down drastically this spring compared to the same, three-month timeframe last year, according to statistics from the Calgary Police Service.
"I think it's a combination of factors," said Deputy Chief Chad Tawfik.
In March of 2020, property crimes dropped 4.5 per cent (4,322) compared to last year. In April, a 16.2 per cent drop (3,986) and May saw a 39.3 per cent drop (3,249) in overall property crimes, with nearly 12 per cent cleared.
"Having the ability to try to forward an investigation earlier, often leads to greater success in concluding them and clearing them," said Tawfik.
Violent crimes have also taken a plunge. In March 2019, 1,119 violent crimes were committed. This year, there were just 895 violent crimes in March — a 20 per cent drop.
April and May also saw 32 per cent drops in violent crimes compared to last year.
Ward 5 Coun. George Chahal called the reduction a good news story, but said numbers are still high.
"We haven’t seen the same decline when it comes to gun violence in our city," he said. "That's a significant concern for me. Most of these incidents of gun violence are targeted so that's something the public needs to be aware of."
Police believe the explanation for the decline is twofold.
"People are staying at home in specific locations but it's also efforts we’ve done proactively to try and focus on the things that we anticipated might occur," said Tawfik.
Tawfik says that includes focusing on commercial buildings that were shut due to COVID-19 and crime hot spots in the city.
"We did see domestic calls for service increase but the violent crimes decreased and that's good news that people are calling us earlier."
Escalating gun violence in Calgary continues to be of great concern.
To date, there have been 59 shootings in 2020, eight of which were fatal. Police say there have also been 19 homicides, one shy of the 2019 total of 20.
June 2020 crime statistics are expected to be released later this month.
The original version of this story indicated there had been 56 shootings in Calgary in 2020. That number was shootings that occurred prior to the end of June and, as of July 15, there have been three additional shootings since.