Saskatoon crime severity index top 4 among Canadian cities
Saskatoon has the fourth highest crime severity index (CSI) in the country, according to data released by Statistics Canada.
The 2018 numbers were released Monday and cover Canada’s census metropolitan areas, which are cities with a population of 100,000 with at least 50,000 living in the core.
The index is a measure of police-reported crime, taking into account the severity.
The report notes Saskatoon’s CSI of 118 did not change year-over-year. Lethbridge, Regina and Winnipeg saw the highest numbers, respectively. The national average is 75.
Violent crimes were down two per cent in the city. Vehicle theft and robberies also saw a decrease. Fraud and sexual assaults were up, a trend experienced nationally as well.
“We know for the last two years what the challenges are here,” Saskatoon police Chief Troy Cooper said on Monday.
“We have addictions issues particularly around crystal meth – we’ve addressed that as best we can through enforcement, but we’ve been really strategic about it.”
According to the report, methamphetamine-related offences are climbing across the country – accounting for 16 per cent of all police-reported drug-related crime.
Saskatchewan saw a three per cent drop in its CSI, but still ranks highest among the provinces at 139.2, according to the report. It was among only two other provinces and one territory to see a drop.
It notes, there were 34 homicides in the province last year, 13 of which happened in Saskatoon.
There are eight homicides in the city so far this year.
“It has the biggest impact on a community to know that level of violent crime is present in the community,” Cooper said.
“It’s difficult to consider homicides when you’re dealing with eight, nine in a year as a pattern or a trend – but we do look for patterns or a trend generally in violent offending.”
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Canada saw a four per cent decrease in the homicide rate from 1.82 homicides per 100, 000 population in 2017 to 1.76 in 2018. Police reported 651 homicides, 15 fewer than the previous year.
The CSI increased for a fourth year in a row across the country. The national crime rate rose by two per cent.