OTTAWA -- The Ottawa Police Service says a decrease in crimes reported in Ottawa in 2020 can be attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.

The 2020 Ottawa Police Service Annual Report shows a 21.2 per cent decrease in reported crimes and a 13.8 per cent drop in violent crimes in Ottawa last year. There were fewer homicides, robberies, sexual assaults, assaults and charges for thefts under $5,000 in the capital in 2020.

A total of 33,613 Criminal Code of Canada offences were reported in the city of Ottawa in 2020, down from 42,675 reported crimes in 2019.  There were 6,673 violent crimes reported to Ottawa Police in 2020, down from 7,739 in 2019.

"In 2020, there were declines in both the overall volume (13%) and severity (22%) of violent crime. Contributing to the decline in the violent CSI was a 40 per cent decline in the number of homicides to eight, with all cases solved," says the Ottawa Police Service Annual Report.

"Also contributing to the decline were a reduction in robberies (32%), sexual violations (16%), indecent and harassing communications (15%), and assaults (13%). In many instances, these declines can be attributed to a reduction in the number of face-to-face interactions occurring due to public health measures."

There were eight homicides in Ottawa in 2020, down from 14 in 2019 and 16 in 2018.

"Our Homicide Unit had its own success stories in 2020, with all eight homicide investigations resulting in the arrests and murder charges issued for persons responsible, for an unprecedented 100 per cent clearance rate," said the report. "Only one case remains open as police search for a second party, after arresting and charging one of the two involved in a murder."

Ottawa police say investigators cleared 44 per cent of all violent crimes in 2020, an increase from 42 per cent in 2019.

There was also a 22.9 per cent decrease in non-violent crime reported in Ottawa last year, with 26,940 incidents reported.

Statistics show there was a 45 per cent decrease in theft under $5000 charges, a 23 per cent decline in non-violent property-related offences, and what police call a "marked decline" in shoplifting and thefts from vehicles.

"This can be partially attributed to the closure of many businesses, facilities providing recreational programs, public libraries, schools, child care centres, bars and restaurants and performance venues to control community transmission of COVID-19," says the report. "These closures inadvertently reduced opportunity and mobility."

Police did report an increase in fraud and theft over $5000 charges in 2020.

Ottawa police received 314,294 calls for service in 2020, down from 345,760 calls in 2019.

The Ottawa Police Service Annual Report will be presented to the Ottawa Police Services Board on Monday.