One crime statistic is bucking the trend in Hamilton. It seems like some people are using all their free time to break into spaces rather than staying in their own homes. On May 1, Hamilton Police released its Hamilton crime data and commercial break-and-enters have seen a 131% increase since March 17 compared to the same period last year.

With the whole province under a state of emergency, it seems some people in Hamilton are spending their time unwisely.

According to the Hamilton Police trends report, officers have seen an overall decrease of 12.5% in reported crime since that state of emergency was declared back on March 17, when compared to last year's stats.

But break-and-enters are going dramatically in the other direction.

The biggest standout is the jump in commercial break and enters, which has skyrocketed by 131% over the last few weeks.

"In response to an increase in Commercial Break and Enters, Hamilton Police have increased patrols around closed businesses, as well as engaged with local BIAs and the Chamber of Commerce to offer additional Crime Prevention support," reads the statement on the report.

According to CBC, Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger admitted he's not too surprised that criminals have changed their ways in light of the times.

"It's very unfortunate these criminals obviously aren't sensitive to the needs of these businesses they're robbing from and it's particularly harsh when businesses are already struggling with the economic climate we're in," said Eisenberger.

"It's adding insult to injury."

Hamilton Police notes in its release that in response to this surge, it has increased patrols around closed businesses.

In contrast, almost all other crime is down compared to 2019 with many residents stuck at home or voluntarily isolating. Those include assault, impaired driving, and motor vehicle thefts. 

However, besides break-and-enters, Hamilton Police have also noted an increase in speeding on the city's roads compared to this period last year.

"We discourage people from using our roads as race tracks ... I don't know what people are thinking, clearly they're not thinking," said Eisenberger.

"They're not only thinking about themselves but everyone else out and about getting some outdoor time, walking on sidewalks and cycling," he added.

Hamilton isn't the only city to see a huge boom in stunt driving.

For the month of April 2020, Toronto reported a 550% increase in reckless driving charges compared to April 2019.

So, it seems that across the GTHA, while the province is stuck inside, criminals are adapting.

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