VICTORIA -- Victoria police say a concerning rash of break-ins at downtown Victoria businesses continues to trend upwards for the third month in a row.

Between Jan. 1 and Jan. 18, police say 28 business break-and-enters have occurred in Victoria and Esquimalt.

That total for 18 days already exceeds the number of break-ins that occurred in all 31 days of December, when 26 break-and-enters occurred.

Before that, 16 break-ins were reported in November, while 18 were recorded in October.

Victoria police say the steady rise in break-ins may also be connected to a sophisticated series of break-and-enters that feature the use of glass removal techniques to enter businesses. Five such break-ins occurred in one night last week.

“This approach requires specialized tools and knowledge and, in some files, has been effective in defeating alarm systems,” VicPD reiterated Tuesday.

“In circumstances when the glass removal technique has failed, thieves may resort to more brute force methods such as smashing windows and prying doors.”

Police say the vast majority of recent break-ins have occurred in the downtown Victoria and Burnside Gorge neighbourhood. Seventy-five per cent of business break and enters took place in these two areas since the beginning of December.

Anyone with information on any of the break-ins is asked to call Victoria police at 250-995-7654 or call Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-8477.

Victoria police have also compiled a list of tips to protect businesses from break-ins, which can be found below:

• Remove valuables from your business where possible when you close.

• If you cannot remove valuables or merchandise, move it out of view from all windows.

• Empty your cash drawer and leave it clearly displayed in a window.

• Review your surveillance system to ensure your system is working, is of useful resolution, and captures all potential areas of entry.

• Review your alarm company contact information to ensure you’ll be contacted in the event an alarm is triggered.

• Report damaged windows and doors, even if entry isn’t made. You can report these online 24 hours a day through online reporting and through our VicPD Connect App.

• Download our VicPD Connect App for alerts and easy reporting of break and enter attempts.

• Talk with your business neighbours, ask if they’ve had damaged windows, doors or other break-in attempts and share this list with them.