Documents/VPD/1: Property Crime

1: Property Crime

Reduce property crime by 20%, by 2012

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In 2003, Vancouver was plagued with one of the worst property crime problems in the country. This reality served as the impetus to focus many of our resources toward the property crime problem. In 2004, the VPD set a goal for a 20% reduction in property crime within five years. By the end of 2006, strategies employed by the VPD had resulted in a 16.2% reduction (see Figure 10). Despite the reduction, property offences remain the biggest crime problem facing the citizens of Vancouver. It is clear that drug addiction is a significant causal factor in the commission of property crime, as offenders feed their drug habits through the proceeds obtained from the disposal of stolen property. While the VPD is continually striving for a deeper understanding of the root causes of property crime, many of these causes are beyond the control of police. In order to align our limited resources to have the broadest effect, an offender management approach focusing on chronic offenders has proven to have the greatest impact. By directing our resources on the smaller number of offenders who commit the greatest number of crimes, and working in partnership with Crown Counsel, the VPD successfully removes these offenders from the streets for longer periods of time. This process has resulted in more appropriate sentences for their offences, and attempts to provide external support opportunities to assist with their drug addiction and/or mental health needs. Theft and fraud utilizing digital technologies, and especially the Internet, are two of the fastest growth areas of criminal activity. The Internet allows criminals to easily assume false identities, create fictitious merchandise, false companies and web services, and then use these electronic means to scam unsuspecting victims out of millions of dollars. New Internet-based telephone services and online banking services provide criminals with the means to spread their illegal activities around the globe, increasing investigative complexity and causing jurisdictional issues for the police. Often the victims of these crimes are the most vulnerable in our society - the elderly. The police need to recruit and retain investigators with a strong understanding of computing and networking technology to work in this complex field. Additionally, the collaboration of police around the world, in the field of technological crime, needs to be improved, and the laws in every jurisdiction (and potentially internationally) must be strengthened to better recognize this emerging medium for crime. As the VPD is committed to becoming the safest major city in Canada, the initial target for property crime reduction is to bring the reported property crime rates down to the national average for these cities. Using the average crime rate derived from the eight largest cities (population over 500,000) as a target, Vancouver requires a further 64% reduction in reported property crime. While this is no small task, through the continued support of offender management programs, along with the expansion of proven crime prevention programs and education of the community, we are committed to closing this gap and realizing this goal. MEASUREMENTS Key Performance Indicator: Property crime rates for residential and commercial break and enters, theft of and theft from automobile, mischief and personal theft offences Additional Measurements: * Statistics Canada crime data for Vancouver, based on per capita ratios * Arrest rates * Youth offender rates * Victimization rates, to account for unreported crime * Threshold levels of property crime within each neighbourhood

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