Sex offences hit new high in Vancouver
As violent crimes plummet around city, Vancouver police are puzzled to explain why a record 526 sex offences were reported in 2013. (CARMINE MARINELLI/ 24 HOURS)
The number of sex offences reported in Vancouver is at a record high as far as the police force’s public statistics on the crime shows.
On Thursday, Vancouver Police Board member Mary Collins pointed out how numerous categories of crime rates — including shots fired and robbery calls — have plummeted through the years while sex crimes remained constant until spiking in 2013.
Between 2004 and 2012, the number of sexual offences had never been higher than 482, with the lowest being 411.
Police remain unclear on exactly why the offences hit 526 last year.
Chief Const. Jim Chu speculated more people might be reporting to police, especially after high-profile assaults at the University of B.C. campus last year.
It’s also possible campaigns such as poster programs discouraging potential rapists could have helped, he said.
“The majority of the increase is in the area of gropings — including incidents that happen in bars, on transit routes — those are increasing,” Chu said. “So the more serious, aggravated sex assaults … we’re not seeing as big an increase.”
According to Vancouver Police Department’s latest stats report, violent crime dropped 5.4% in 2013 compared to the previous year. Homicides decreased 26.1%, while sex offences jumped 15.8%.
“The increase this year is obviously a concern to us,” Chu said. “We have a very big and busy sex crimes unit. If they need more resources we will transfer more officers into that unit.”