OTTAWA -- Ottawa’s top cop is concerned about a drop in the number of reports about abuse during the COVID-19 pandemic.

During a City of Ottawa Town Hall to discuss the pandemic, Ottawa Police Chief Peter Sloly said Ottawa Police have seen a drop in crimes reported by Ottawa residents.

“Overall, we are seeing a decline in the number of abuse reports and crime reports. The crime report reduction is not unexpected, we’ve seen that across the world,” said Sloly.

“The abuse reports are concerning, because we know it’s continuing and possibly increasing.”

Chief Sloly says Ottawa Police have launched a number of public safety awareness campaigns, targeting women, young people and people most vulnerable to domestic abuse, child abuse and human trafficking.

“We’ve had some calls come in, but we encourage neighbours, friends and family to continue to be very vigilant in this area. Do not hesitate to intervene, and ideally you would contact your local Children’s Aid, other not for profit agencies and if necessary, contact us the police.”

In March, the Ottawa Police Service Sexual Assault and Child Abuse and the Partner Assault Sections encouraged people to remain vigilant about the potential for abuse towards women and children, considering they may be further isolated due to physical distancing and self-isolation measures.

In a statement, police said “of concern is that victims of domestic abuse are potentially not attending hospitals or clinics for their injuries, and therefore a significant portion of our cases which would normally come from health care professionals, are going unreported.”

Police reached out to local community shelters, victim services, immigrant women’s services, and crisis centres, and encouraged police reporting.

Ottawa have a list of community resources and information from the Partner Abuse Action available on its website.