Crime Beat podcast: crime, the courts and COVID-19

On this special edition of Crime Beat, Global News crime reporter Nancy Hixt takes a look at crime, the courts and COVID-19 — and what it all means for your safety.

The novel coronavirus has affected all of us.

Many have lost loved ones, businesses have closed and thousands have lost their jobs. People are asked to stay home wherever possible, to self-isolate and to maintain social distancing.

 With that, there are added strains on many relationships.

Advocacy groups, including the Sagesse Domestic Violence Prevention Society, are seeing increased rates of domestic and sexual violence.

Andrea Silverstone, the executive director of Sagesse, told Global News that in some areas, the number of reported incidents has tripled.

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READ MORE: Calls to Vancouver domestic-violence crisis line spike 300% amid COVID-19 pandemic

Others, meanwhile, can’t avoid going out — including essential service providers like doctors, nurses and hospital staff. 

That also includes those working to maintain public safety during a time of heightened anxiety.

Police say coronavirus self-isolation affecting Saskatoon crime

Police say coronavirus self-isolation affecting Saskatoon crime

Through all of it, police are experiencing new challenges and are noticing a change in the types of crimes they’re being asked to investigate.

According to Calgary police, with more people working from home, house break-ins are down, but many closed businesses have been left more vulnerable and commercial break-ins are on the rise.

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The President of the Canadian Police Association, Tom Stamatakis, said he’s disturbed by cases where COVID-19 has been used as a weapon against police, in the form of coughing and spitting on first responders — including incidents in Calgary and Vancouver.

READ MORE: COVID-19: When is spitting seen as assault? Lawyer weighs in after Kelowna man charged

Experts note one silver lining in this difficult time: the increased use of technology to keep the wheels of justice moving.

Video conferencing and teleconferencing are being used whenever possible to deal with bail, sentencing hearings and even trials.

READ MORE: In Canada’s courts, accused criminals are asking for release due to COVID-19

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Other court cases are being delayed because of the need to follow social distancing and limits on people gathered in one place, including jury trials.

That’s raised concerns about an already strained Canadian justice system and what that means for keeping up with time limits imposed by the Supreme Court of Canada on how long a case can take from start to finish.

In this episode, we turn to experts — including police, judges and lawyers — to answer your questions about crime, the courts and COVID-19.

If you enjoy Crime Beat, please take a minute to rate it on Apple Podcasts or Google Podcasts, tell us what you think and share the show with your friends.

Contact:

Twitter: @nancyhixt

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NancyHixtCrimeBeat/

Email: nancy.hixt@globalnews.ca

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