Kelowna crime bad, but its getting better

Kelowna crime bad, but it\s getting better
Police respond as Lethbridge posts third largest increase on CSI
According to the latest by Maclean's Magazine, Kelowna is the only city in the Okanagan where crime is falling.

The publication's annual Most Dangerous Places survey shows Kelowna had a seven-point drop in its Crime Severity Index (CSI) over the five-year period from 2012 to 2017.

The report states the severity of violent crime in Kelowna also dropped to 71, below the national average of 75.25.

Portage la Prairie rounds out the top five in overall crime, with Selkirk ranking twelfth. In fact, all but one of the 25 most dangerous cities, according to the Maclean’s study, are in the prairies or B.C.

This ranking of Canadas Most Dangerous Places will help you know which places to avoid |

The publication says the city's assault, sexual assault and robbery files per 100,000 population all dropped over the five-year span, accounting for the overall drop.

Winnipeggers like to talk about the city being the “murder capital” of Canada, but according to a recent study of Canada’s most dangerous places by Maclean’s, we’re not even close.

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.

Kelowna's drug trafficking and impaired driving numbers also went down. However, the 335.39 per 100,000 impaired driving rate remains nearly twice the national average of 194.31.

The city of Thompson is ranked Canada’s second-most dangerous community overall, trailing only North Battleford, Sask., but it holds the dubious honour of ranking first in violent crime severity.

Both Penticton and Vernon are also well above the national average in terms of CSI. Penticton is rated the 17th most dangerous place with a CSI of 145. It also had the 19th highest crime severity growth, up 26 points over that five-year span.

While other Penticton crime stats went down, the number of fraud and homicides in the city increased.

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Vernon is 24th on the overall list with a CSI of 134, however, it had a growth of only three points. Vernon also saw a dramatic increase in fraud cases, with 705.95 per 100,000 people, well above the national average of 299.05.

Brandon (46th overall for crime), Steinbach (76th) and Winkler (117th) are the other Manitoba communities represented on the list.

West Kelowna (CSI of 67) and Summerland (CSI of 64), are both below the national average, although Summerland did have a five-year growth of 21 points.

LETHBRIDGE – A new crime-ranking methodology by a national publication places Lethbridge in a dubious position.

The Macleans Most Dangerous Places ranking for 2019 placed Lethbridge third in all of Canada, behind only Wetaskiwin and Red Deer. Rather than base the ranking on the annual Crime Severity Index (CSI), on which Lethbridge was 19th overall and 39th in violent crime, the magazine ranked the cities based on the difference between 2012 and 2017 to determine if crime was getting better or worse.

That calculation produced a 52.8-point jump for Lethbridge, the third highest. Prince Albert, Sask. and Thompson, Man. were fourth and fifth. Seven of the top ten cities were in Alberta.

Lethbridge Police Sgt. Bruce Hagel said its an obvious concern but pointed out how much the numbers can swing in a smaller community, citing as an example a triple-homicide in 2015. He also pointed to a big increase in trafficking of drugs other than cocaine and marijuana.

You can read more about Maclean’s methodology, and also spend some time looking for familiar places in B.C. or elsewhere in Canada as you toggle through the interactive ranking tool.

We saw an increase in usage in fentanyl, and fentanyl on the streets, and carfentanil, he said. And so the concerns that we have have come about in the last number of years. And along with that kind of drug use, you see increase in property crime, vehicle break-ins, garage break-ins to feed those drug habits.

Langley lands in the number one spot for robbery, fraud, and “other” drug trafficking, while cannabis trafficking is hot in Nelson.

He wouldnt say if he thinks its fair to characterize Lethbridge as dangerous, saying he finds Lethbridge a great place to live, but someone may feel different if they have been victimized. He also said most of the violent crime is concentrated within a certain population, often connected with addictions.

The rates or the incidences of, say, violent attacks is quite low, I would say. It has happened here in Lethbridge, for sure. But more commonplace is the people know each other or theyre involved in certain types of high-risk activity which tends to result in, say, a violent act against one or the other.

Overall in B.C., Vancouver ranks 17th for all crime, 19th for assault, and 18th for our five-year change in CSI.

Hagel also cited a survey that found most people feel safe in their neighbourhoods, but police recognize there are other areas where thats not the case.

I think we knew that there were some of these issues, and weve taken some very proactive steps to address those things, he said. He also referred to initiatives in the works like adding boots on the street and neighbourhood watch-type programs and community officers.