Pandemic-triggered lockdowns have contributed to an upward trend in technology being used as an “instrument of crime” to create child sexual abuse material and commit fraud tied to cryptocurrency and other online scams in Vancouver.
The Vancouver Police Department’s cybercrime unit says it has seen increases over the past two years in the global problem of possession and distribution of images and videos of children, and crimes where people have lost money via the Internet.
A report that goes before the Vancouver Police Board Thursday provided statistics on the crimes captured over the first three months of 2022 and 2021, and included a chart that showed victims of online fraud lost a total of $8.09 million in that span of time.
The loss related to cryptocurrency alone was $3.42 million.
‘Significant increase in child sexual abuse’
The number of cybercrime reports to the VPD from January to March in 2021 and 2022 totaled 1,295 as compared to 882 for the same three-month periods in 2020 and 2019.
Of the 1,295 cases, child sexual abuse material investigations totaled 246; there were 142 cases reported in 2020 and 2019.
“It is widely recognized in the child protection community that lockdowns and…