The Covid-19 pandemic has been a drop in crime, according to new data from Statistics Canada; however, demand for mental health checks and other sorts of police service calls rose.
The national statistical agency said that, in the first eight months of the pandemic (March through October), police reported that criminal incidents dropped by 18% compared with the same period in 2019.
Reports of most forms of crime dropped, StatsCan said, including robbery, assault and sexual assault.
“The lone exception was uttering threats by a family member,” it said, noting that these reports increased by 2% year over year.
Additionally, calls for wellness checks, mental issues and domestic disturbances rose by 8% year over year.
StatsCan reported that there was a general decline in violent crime reported during the pandemic, and that property crime dropped too, with shoplifting down 47%, residential break-and-enters dropping 27% and auto theft down 18%.
“With cities and communities shut down and Canadians staying at home, it is perhaps not surprising that police reported a drop in some of the more common types of property crime,” it said.
However, reports of business break-ins increased during the pandemic.
StatsCan also said police reported a drop in fraud (including identity theft), with reports down 9% from 2019.
However, it also reported that cyberattacks and pandemic-related fraud have been prevalent.
StatsCan said that, according to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, a total of 5,411 victims lost over $6.6 million due to Covid-related fraud in the March to October period.
It also said that 42% of Canadians have experienced at least one type of cybersecurity incident since the beginning of the pandemic, including phishing attacks, malware, fraud and account hacking.
Since the onset of the pandemic, securities regulators have repeatedly warned about a rise in phishing and various forms of online fraud.
“Of those who experienced a cybersecurity incident, less than one-third (29%) reported the incident to a relevant service provider, financial institution or credit card company, and 5% of individuals reported the incident to an authority such as the police,” StatsCan said.