People walk along a pedestrianized zone of Sainte-Catherine street in Montreal, Monday, May 18, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. Newly released statistics point to a major drop in police-recorded crime during the first eight months of the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

People walk along a pedestrianized zone of Sainte-Catherine street in Montreal, Monday, May 18, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. Newly released statistics point to a major drop in police-recorded crime during the first eight months of the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

Crime down in first 8 months of pandemic, but mental health calls rise: StatCan

The agency says violent crimes such as assault dropped significantly

Newly released figures point to a major drop in police-recorded crime during the first eight months of the COVID-19 pandemic last year.

Statistics Canada says 19 police services across Canada reported that select criminal incidents fell by 18 per cent between March and October 2020, compared with the same period a year earlier.

In contrast, the number of service calls rose eight per cent, particularly for wellness checks and calls for domestic disturbances and mental health.

READ MORE: Canadians’ mental health has deteriorated with the second wave, study finds

The agency says violent crimes such as assault dropped significantly, while property crime including shoplifting and residential break-and-enter plunged amid shutdowns that closed stores and kept people home.

The lone outlier to the trend was uttering threats by a family member, which saw a two per cent bump in reported incidents year over year.

The figures come from 19 police services that serve nearly three-quarters of the Canadian population.

The Canadian Press

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