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Break-and-enters up amid pandemic

The Durham Region Police Service (DRPS) have recorded an increase in property crimes and a drop in vehicle collisions amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

According to a recent press release, property crimes are up 8 per cent year-to-date, which is driven by an increase in theft under $5,000 (up 10 per cent), fraud and ID theft (up nine per cent), and residential break and enters (up 35 per cent). However, despite the increase, property crimes started to drop again in March and continue to be below long-term averages.

In terms of property crimes, police recommend not leaving any valuables in your vehicle and keeping the doors locked at all times in your vehicle and your home.

Additional residential safety tips and resources can be found on the DRPS website.

Durham police also recorded an increase in domestic calls, which is up 14 per cent year-to-date. And while there has been a decrease in assault calls (down 14 per cent), police noted an increase in sexual assaults – up 22 per cent year-to-date.

And while police have reported a drop in emergency calls for service, which is down 2.4 per cent, urgent calls are up 6.2 per cent, and routine calls are up 23.4 per cent.

While the DRPS have seen an increase in certain types of calls, calls such as impaired driving and vehicle collisions have gone down.

“One of the biggest things we have noticed is the dramatic reduction in vehicle collisions over the past few weeks as there are less vehicles on the road,” says Dave Selby, a spokesperson from the DRPS.

In terms of roadway safety, vehicle collisions are down 53 per cent, and property damage collisions are down 30 per cent.

The average daily collisions in Durham Region have dropped from 25 a day to about six, according to the press release.

The DRPS have also received more than 210 complaints from residents in which most are related to non-essential business openings, however, the warmer weather has also sparked an increase in social gathering complaints.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing guidelines set by the province, gatherings of more than five people are prohibited. Police are currently taking an educational approach and cautioning the community on the social distancing guidelines, however, fines may be issued, which starts at $750.

Citizens can report a gathering of more than five people or a non-compliant business on the DRPS website,

The DRPS wants to remind citizens that there are support services available and ready to help during this difficult time. A comprehensive list of community services can be found on the Region of Durham’s website at