An RCMP officer carrying tarps outside of an apartment building at Creston Avenue and Comox Street where a shooting took place in April 2017.                                Mark Brett/Western News

An RCMP officer carrying tarps outside of an apartment building at Creston Avenue and Comox Street where a shooting took place in April 2017. Mark Brett/Western News

Penticton still ranks in the Top 20 most dangerous places in Canada

Annual rankings from MacLean’s magazine lists Penticton as number 19

Penticton was ranked 19th overall in the annual Canada’s Most Dangerous Places list by MacLean’s magazine, but it doesn’t sit well with Penticton-South Okanagan RCMP Supt. Ted De Jager.

Even with four homicides and an increase of fraud offences, according to the MacLean’s five-year change in the Crime Severity Index (CSI), the city has slightly improved from last year’s rank of the 16th most dangerous city. Penticton is the only Okanagan city in the Top 20 on their list, with the next area in the region being Summerland at 24.

“First, the CSI is not an appropriate comparison tool to compare cities across the country. It is meant to show communities where concerns lie so that efforts can be made to target those issues. Comparing a city of 35,000 in B.C. to a city in PQ or the Maritimes is misleading, starting with the methodology which does not factor in location, demographics, industry, unemployment, medical concerns such as mental health, homelessness, addiction rates, educational priorities, etc.,” said De Jager.

Related: Penticton in top 20 for crime in 2017

The report ranks communities according to the (CSI), a Statistics Canada measure of all police-reported crime, which takes into consideration both the volume and seriousness of offences. The 2017 data, the most current available for the MacLean’s report, was released July 23, 2018.

Related: Penticton city crime stats up slightly

According to the (CSI) stats in the report, Penticton is at a CSI of 145 (17th overall), which is slightly over double the national average of 70.96. On the violent crime severity index, Penticton is at 99 (42nd in the country), while the national average is 75.25.

The homicide rate in Penticton is listed at 11.13 (incidents per 100,000 population), with the Canadian average at 1.68. The fraud rate in Penticton sits at 461.75 while the Canadian average is 299.05.

De Jager said a “straight-up numerical comparison is misleading at best and sensationalized at worst.”

“The second major issue here lies with population. It is telling that all of the cities in the top 20 are under 50,000 population. From a methodological view, it seems rather odd to label only these smaller cities as ‘dangerous.’ One reason is that crime is not proportional to population. A single prolific offender in a smaller community who goes on a crime spree will have a radical affect on crime rates during that period, whereas the exact same spree will not even register in Vancouver or Toronto.”

Stats that have dropped for Penticton include the assault rate, sexual assault rate, firearms offences, robbery, impaired driving rate, cannabis trafficking or production, cocaine trafficking or production and other controlled drugs trafficking or production. Youth Criminal Justice Act offences have also dropped for Penticton, which is listed at 8.34 while the national average is 16.74.

“The next issue lies with the overall score versus violent crime. We focus on the protection of life and safety, and then on the protection of property. I find it odd that the article uses the term ‘dangerous’ when our Violent CSI, or what one would equate with danger, is actually down to 55. This despite three homicides in Penticton in 2017. Each of these homicides was committed by an offender known to the victim and were in no way random,” said De Jager.

De Jager also questions the weighing of the crime types. He said the top contributor to the score was break and enter and theft from motor vehicle. According to De Jager, there were 399 break and enters — contributing to 29 per cent of the CSI score — and 624 theft from motor vehicle, contributing to eight per cent of the city’s score. In comparison violent crime calls are less than three per cent of the total calls for service.

“What these ratings do not take into account is that our BNEs have dropped by almost 30 per cent since these statistics were collected. Here we are in November, being told Penticton is in the top 20 of CSI, without even factoring the excellent work that has been done in that time,” said De Jager. “Theft from vehicle is one of our priorities for this year as it was last year. The majority of this theft is unsecured items in unlocked cars. Despite reports to the contrary, we still and always have attended these calls for service, but we need the public to protect their property to bring this crime of opportunity down.”

De Jager added that RCMP have placed significant priority on prolific offenders and are seeing the results with a 30 per cent drop in residential break and enters.

“We routinely issue news releases requesting the public’s assistance in helping us solve crime because we know that there are people in the community who know who is responsible for those crimes. We need those individuals to come forward and help us target the small group of individuals who are responsible for the majority of our crimes.”

In comparison, Vernon — ranked number nine last year — is now ranked 73. Kelowna was previously ranked 34, and is now at 142.

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.

Kristi Patton | Editor

KristiPatton

Send Kristi Patton an email.
Like the Western News on Facebook.
Follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The currently vacant lot on Main Street where a Dairy Queen, retail and residential spaces have been approved to go into. (Town of Oliver)
Main Street in Oliver is getting a Dairy Queen and residential units

Oliver council gave its approval to fill the empty lot with DQ and residential units

A dumpster was on fire behind a residential complex in downtown Penticton Tuesday afternoon. (Brennan Phillips Western News)
Dumpster fire extinguished in downtown Penticton

There has been a string of dumpster fires lately

FILE — In this March 31, 2021 file photo, a nurse fills a syringe with a dose of the Johnson & Johnson’s one-dose COVID-19 vaccine at the Vaxmobile, at the Uniondale Hempstead Senior Center, in Uniondale, N.Y. The U.S. is recommending a “pause” in administration of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to investigate reports of potentially dangerous blood clots. In a joint statement Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration said it was investigating clots in six women in the days after vaccination, in combination with reduced platelet counts. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)
72 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health

This brings the total number of cases in the region to 9,666 since the pandemic began

Fire rips through shop in small South Okanagan town

The building was destroyed despite community efforts to fight the fire

The Save Sickle Point Committee, a grassroots community group, has teamed up Penticton’s Tempest Theatre and Film Society to release short film on Sickle Point. (Contributed)
WATCH: Conservationists release short film on saving ‘precious’ Sickle Point

Sickle Point, the last intact wetland near Skaha Lake, is facing the prospect of development

A person receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. sees 873 more COVID-19 cases Tuesday, decline continues

Hospitalizations up to 377, two more deaths for 1,515 total

The future of the Eagle Pass Lookout cabin is being discussed. (File photo)
Options presented for future of former Eagle Pass fire lookout in Shuswap

Stakeholders met in 2020 to discuss the restoration, or possible removal of the cabin

(Mayor Cindy Fortin - Peachland)
Peachland mayor declines early vaccination offer

Mayor Cindy Fortin said she wants seniors, immunocompromised individuals to get the shot first

B.C. Premier John Horgan speaks at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
Tougher COVID-19 restrictions in B.C., including travel, still ‘on the table’: Horgan

John Horgan says travel restrictions will be discussed Wednesday by the provincial cabinet

Conservation officers caught three men over fishing bull trout in Kinbasket Lake. (Facebook)
B.C. men fined $1.7K for overfishing near Revelstoke, Golden

The seized fish were donated to the Golden Food Bank

NorKam secondary student Karis Wilson in the outfit that got her sent home from school on Feb. 23, 2021. (Kamloops This Week photo)
Clothing that ‘detracts from learning process’ removed from SD73 student dress code

Policy change underway after student in knee-length dress, long-sleeve turtleneck sent home

Protesters occupied a road leading to Fairy Creek Watershed near Port Renfrew. (Submitted photo)
B.C. First Nation says logging activist interference not welcome at Fairy Creek

Vancouver Island’s Pacheedaht concerned about increasing polarization over forestry activities

Flow Academy is not accepting membership applications from anybody who has received a dose of the vaccine, according to a password-protected membership application form. (Submitted image)
B.C. martial arts gym refusing patrons who have been vaccinated, wear masks

Interior Health has already issued a ticket to Flow Academy for non-compliance with public health orders

Forward Elan Bar Lev Wise of the West Kelowna Warriors (right, shown playing for the Vernon Vipers in 2019) has been suspended nine games by the B.C. Hockey League for being the instigator and aggressor in an after-the-game fight with Vernon’s Kjell Kjemhus Monday, April 12, at Kal Tire Place. Kjemhus was given a two-game suspension for his role. (Black Press - file photo)
West Kelowna Warriors forward handed lengthy suspension

Elan Bar Lev Wise fought Vernon Vipers forward Kjell Kjemhus after BCHL game was over Monday, April 12; Kjemhus suspended two games

Most Read