Violent crimes may be going down in Penticton, but the city still ranks in the top 20 for crime severity in Canada.
With a total of 185 assaults last year, Penticton is the 16th most dangerous city in Canada, according to a Maclean’s study of Statistics Canada figures.
The Maclean’s study looked at, for each city in the country, the crime severity index (CSI), which takes into account the volume of crimes on a per capita basis, as well as the severity of each of those crimes. For instance, an assault would rank higher than shoplifting.
According to the 2016 StatsCan data, Penticton saw 185 assaults, nine sexual assaults, four firearms offences, zero homicides, 30 robberies, 354 break-and-enters, and 127 incidents of drinking and driving, among others.
Though nearly every one of those numbers are lower than Chilliwack, which is ranked number 18 on the list, it is the incidence per capita that places Penticton to spots higher than Chilliwack.
That has put Penticton at a CSI of 146 — double the national average of just over 70.
When creating the CSI in 2006, StatsCan set the benchmark rating, 100, at that year’s crime severity, so while the crime severity has gone down by 30 points nationally since 2006, Penticton’s rating remains well above that point.
In a recent presentation to city council, Supt. Ted De Jager said while domestic violence and violent crime went down in the third quarter of this year, property crime continues to rise in the city.
Penticton isn’t the only Okanagan city to make the top 20 in the list — Vernon, with 257 assaults and 25 sex assaults, ranked number nine in Canada, with a CSI of 157.
Kelowna sits at number 34, with a CSI of 116.
In terms of the violent crime severity index (VCSI), each of the three cities fall well below their CSI ratings, but Penticton and Vernon both remain above the national average rating of 75.
Kelowna sits at a VCSI of 68, ranked number 84 in the country; Penticton has a rating of 88, ranked 55 in Canada; and Vernon, ranked 29 in Canada, has a rating of 113.
For a point of reference, North Battleford has the highest CSI rating, at 353, while Thompson, Manitoba holds the highest VCSI rating at 415.