Vernon one of Canada’s most dangerous places

Penticton, Kamloops, Kelowna, Lake Country and Salmon Arm also make Maclean’s list

  • Nov. 23, 2017 5:30 p.m.

Vernon has made the top 10 list of Canada’s most dangerous places.

According to Maclean’s magazine, the North Okanagan community takes the No. 9 spot for all crime with a crime severity index (CSI) of 157, up from last year.

The CSI, according to the magazine article, is a Statistics Canada measure of all police-reported crime, which takes into consideration both the volume and seriousness of offences.

The 2016 data is the most current available and it was released in July 2017.

Vernon, which has a population of 39,960, ranks out of 229 communities across the country.

“It’s the first I’ve heard of this,” said Vernon Mayor Akbal Mund Friday morning, surprised at the number when told to him by a reporter. “Vernon is a safe city. You can ask that to anybody and they’ll say the same thing.”

Coldstream came in at 168 with a CSI of 44, up from last year.

The average Canadian CSI is 70.96.

Topping the list is North Battleford, Sask., with a CSI of 353. Thompson, Man. (284) and Prince Albert, Sask. (244) make up the top-three. Williams Lake is the top B.C. community at No. 4 on the list with a CSI of 222.

Other Okanagan-Shuswap communities making the list are Penticton (16), Kamloops (23), Kelowna (34), Lake Country (113) and Salmon Arm (156).

The report broke down the crimes in the 229 cities. Vernon was top-five at No. 5 for break-and-enters (Coldstream was 105). In the other categories:

– Homicide: Coldstream No. 134; Vernon No. 225;

– Violent Crime: Vernon No. 29; Coldstream No. 199;

– Sexual Assault: Vernon No. 73; Coldstream No. 229;

– Assault: Vernon No. 47; Coldstream No. 201;

– Firearms Offences: Vernon No. 31; Coldstream No. 172;

– Robbery: Vernon No. 16; Coldstream No. 173;

– Fraud: Vernon No. 15; Coldstream No. 182;

– Impaired Driving: Vernon No. 119; Coldstream No. 172;

– Cannabis Trafficking: Vernon No. 114; Coldstream No. 223;

– Cocaine Trafficking: Vernon No. 16; Coldstream No. 143;

– Other Drug Trafficking: Vernon No. 28; Coldstream No. 225;

– Youth Crime: Vernon No. 47; Coldstream No. 196.

Vernon is also a smaller city, and population size is a factor when determining rankings, said Const. Kelly Brett with the local RCMP. A single crime – either violent or non-violent – can have a more significant impact on crime severity rankings than it would in larger centres.

“In 2016, Vernon experienced a number of violent incidents, including three where a firearm was discharged,” said Brett.

“These incidents, which were linked to the drug trade, would significantly impact the city’s violent crime rating.”

For non-violent crime, the city experienced a spike in property crime early in 2016, but targeted policing and pro-active initiatives resulted in the arrest of a number of prolific offenders.

“Once again, due to Vernon’s relatively small population size, even one prolific offender can significantly impact the non-violent crime rating,” said Brett.

“The Vernon RCMP remains committed to developing crime reduction strategies that identify and target known prolific offenders, and we will continue to work with our partners and the community to reduce all types of crime in Vernon.”

Maclean’s states the crime in Canada has dropped by 25 per cent over the last decade, and since data was made available, starting in 1998, crime has been cut by a third. The crime rate nationwide in 2016 was 5,904 incidents per 100,000 people, the second lowest rate recorded by StatsCan.

However, the severity of crimes is what’s going up. The CSI reached a low of 66 in 2013.

Check out the full list at http://www.macleans.ca/canadas-most-dangerous-places/

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