Life, Crime and Regulations in the time of COVID-19
Life in the time of COVID is far more regulated than it was before. We face many challenges and new strict regulations and fines under the states of emergency that we find ourselves in. Police and government powers are greatly extended. We must work together to balance the rights of the individual against the rights of the whole in order to protect from the uncontrolled and rapid spread of the virus.
It appears that with most of us complying with the Federal, Provincial and municipal please to stay home crime rates for most categories of crimes are dropping. Some like break and enter of commercial properties, speeding tickets, and new offences like having gatherings of greater than 5 people are up though.
The police have reported that break and enters into businesses are up due to the fact that most of them are closed up and are easy prey for criminals. Police services are offering up tips to make their premises less attractive and to reduce losses in the case of a break in.
- · Remove valuables from storefront displays
- · Keep the interior, front, and rear entrances well lit
- · Keep some lighting on inside for surveillance opportunities, consider using timer-controlled lights
- · Remove valuables such as cash from the till and leave open. Place the cash tray in plain view
- · Ensure the emergency contact list is up to date on any alarm monitoring system
- · Clearly post signage on the door/window to indicate the premises are monitors by an alarm company
- · Consider installing a surveillance camera system that can be monitored online
- · Consider installing laminate on windows and glass doors to increase glass integrity from blunt force
- · Ensure all doors are properly secured
- · Remove material around the exterior of the property that may be used to gain entry
Some police services, like Halton Regional Police, will also be offering targeted and proactive patrols of businesses that were ordered closed. Police across the country have been fining businesses that remain open contrary to the provincial orders.
Speeding I another crime which has taken off since the pandemic. Toronto police say that speeding tickets are up nearly 30% and stunt driving up nearly 50%. Police forces across the province echo the concerns that speeding has become a real problem, and that stunt driving in particular is a concern. This last week a London man was charged in Wilmot Township travelling 112 km/h in a 50 km/h community safety zone. Needless to say he was charged with stunt driving, lost his car and licence and will have to appear in court to explain why he was driving so fast in order to get his licence back. His auto insurance bill will likely have a few new numbers on it.
Stunt driving fines begin at $2,000 and go to $5000. Fines in community safety zones are immediately doubled. Stunt driving can also end up with a jail sentence and a lengthy licence suspension of up to 2 years.
The province and federal government have closed all provincial and national parks and parking areas, and most municipalities have also closed public parks and playgrounds. The province of Ontario has also issued an order that prohibits gatherings of more than five people with strict exceptions. Police, by-law officers, and POA officers across the province have begun laying charges for this as well. Remember that now you must identify yourself to police, by-law and POA officers if asked to do so.