With Tuesday’s bank robbery in Saanich leaving two suspects dead and six police officers injured, Black Press Media reached out to jurisdictions across Greater Victoria to see how common robberies are.
According to Statistics Canada, Victoria Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) recorded 159 total robberies in 2020 – the most recent statistics available – with a total of 2,674 in British Columbia and 19,268 across Canada.
Looking more closely at Victoria CMA, the number of robberies was on the rise leading into 2020. Stats Can recorded 151 robberies in 2019, 133 in 2018, and 112 in 2017. A total of 59 individuals were charged in 2020, 67 in 2019, 70 in 2018, and 64 in 2017.
Robberies, however, account for a small share of recorded crime incidents in Victoria CMA. It recorded a total of 27,385 Criminal Code violations in 2020, down from 28,402 in 2019, but up from 24,953 in 2018 and 23,050 in 2017.
Victoria CMA recorded 38.85 robberies per 100,000 people, below the provincial figure of 51.95 per 100,000 people and 50.7 per 100,000 people Canada-wide.
Not all police departments track statistics the same way. For example, in Victoria and Esquimalt, calls for service involving robberies fall into a general ‘violence’ category that includes 10 other offences.
According to Statistics Canada data released this month, the City of Victoria recorded 98 robbery calls in 2021, down from 111 in 2020 and up from 80 in 2019.
The proportion of robberies in Canada that involved the presence of a firearm increased to 19 per cent, up from 14 per cent, between 2015 and 2020.
Earlier this year, an attempted bank robbery was thwarted by police after a suspect entered a different bank in the 3600-block of Shelbourne Street and produced a note demanding money.
In 2019, The TD Canada Trust branch, located at 309 Burnside Rd. West was robbed. In that case, the bank’s dye pack deployed, covering the suspect in a red dye.
On the Saanich Peninsula, Sidney recorded one robbery in 2020 and one in 2021, according to figures from Sidney-North Saanich RCMP. In North Saanich, police recorded one robbery in 2020 and one in 2021. This said, Sidney was the site of a bank robbery on July 9, 2019, at the TD Canada Trust on Beacon Avenue. During that incident, Lucas Bradwell gave out a note demanding cash be handed over. Bradwell later pleaded guilty to that robbery as well as two other robberies that summer, one in Vancouver, the other in Abbotsford. The trio of robberies earned him a jail sentence of three years.
Central Saanich Police Service had not responded to a request for statistics at the time of publication.
In 2019, the Royal Bank of Canada branch, located at West Shore Town Centre, was robbed after a man reportedly produced a note and left the bank with an undisclosed amount of cash.
On the West Shore, property crimes were the most common Criminal Code offences in 2021 with 2,419, up slightly from 2,409 in 2020, according to West Shore RCMP’s 2021 annual report. Theft from an automobile accounted for nearly 17 per cent of those or 406 incidents.
More than 10 per cent of property crimes were other types of theft (263 offences) with shoplifting accounting for just less than a tenth of property crimes (231 offences).
Oak Bay saw three robberies in 2019 that resulted in charges and one in 2020, according to Statistics Canada.
A man armed with a knife attempted to steal from a Foul Bay Road store on Halloween in 2020 before the business’ owner thwarted the effort.
A total of 14 occurred between 2012 through 2016, according to the district’s annual reports.
What is robbery?
According to the Criminal Code of Canada, anyone who “steals, and for the purpose of extorting whatever is stolen or to prevent or overcome resistance to the stealing, uses violence or threats of violence to a person or property” commits robbery. Anyone who “before or immediately thereafter, wounds, beats, strikes or uses any personal violence,” assaults “any person with intent to steal” or “steals from any person while armed with an offensive weapon or imitation thereof” also commits robbery, according to the definition.
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