NWT RCMP say crime has changed little during the pandemic

NWT RCMP say officers have remained busy across the territory during the Covid-19 pandemic, with little change in calls for service. 

According to a Wednesday news release, calls to police in the territory have remained consistent from January 6 to May 3 – the first four months of the pandemic.

There has been less than a one-percent increase in total calls for service in the territory from 2019 to 2020.


Comparing data on calls to police from January to May over 2017 to 2020, RCMP say there are some slight variations. But the news release notes a number of factors can result in fluctuations, meaning they can’t all be attributed to the pandemic. 

  • Police say calls related to family violence have dropped by 23 percent compared to 2019 but are up seven percent from 2018.
  • Sexual assault calls have remained consistent from 2017 to 2020 with a decrease of nine percent between 2019 to 2020. 
  • Break-and-enter calls have increased by 12 percent between 2017 to 2020, with an increase of five percent between 2019 and 2020.
  • Calls related to illegal drugs have increased by 21 percent between 2019 and 2020 with an increase of seven percent on 2017 figures. 

The actual figures themselves were not provided, only percentage increases or decreases.

“In NT, we continue to work closely with our partners in providing services to persons affected by crime, including our women’s associations and shelters,” the news release states.

“We encourage anyone who has been a victim of crime, or believes someone they know or love may be affected by criminal behaviour to reach out to your local detachment.”

Meanwhile, RCMP say 12 residents were charged with impaired driving across the territory between April 13 and May 13.


In one case in Inuvik, according to a Friday news release, a driver who “could barely walk” was observed getting into his vehicle and driving away.

In another case in Aklavik, police say a driver registered a blood alcohol content of over 200 mg, more than double the legal limit of 80 mg.

“Twelve NT residents made a bad decision that will have ripple effects on their lives,” the news release states.

“This is without taking into consideration the risk to themselves and others, as every year, thousands of Canadians are either injured or killed in traffic collisions involving alcohol, drugs or a combination of both.”


Comparing the numbers

Comparatively, in southern Canada, initial crime statistics in late April showed an increase in business break-ins in Toronto, Ottawa, Edmonton, and Vancouver.

Police in Ottawa and the York region of Ontario reported an increase in stunt driving, or driving 50 km/h over the speed limit, as well as domestic violence. 

Overall, York police said reported crimes in the region dropped in March, particularly traffic violations, impaired driving, fraud, and weapons offences.

Toronto police also noted a decline in major crimes in March, save for homicides which remained steady. 

NWT RCMP say the use of personal protective equipment has allowed officers to continue service throughout the pandemic.

New questions are also being asked of those calling police to highlight potential risks during the pandemic. 

Police are urging residents to plan safe and sober rides if they plan on consuming alcohol or other drugs over the long weekend.

RCMP ask that anyone who suspects a driver may be impaired or who witnesses suspicious activity contact their local RCMP detachment, 911, or Crime Stoppers.