West Kelowna climbs Most Dangerous Cities list

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.

With 3 homicides and almost 750 assaults in 2017, Windsor is at an 87 on the violent crime severity index, ranking all crimes deemed violent. That puts the city sitting 64th out of all ranked Canadian cities. There were almost 180 sexual assaults, but only 10 firearms related offences.

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

Nestled between Moncton, N.B. and Timmins, Ont. on the list, Windsors 2019 crime severity index is a 95. In 2012, it was less than 90. Canadas average this year is less than 71, making Windsor rank 51st for crime severity. The rankings are based on 2017 data, released June 2018.

Where Kelowna ranked on the 2019 list of Canadas Most Dangerous Places

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.

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.

Windsors youth crime rate has decreased, with just 29 incidents in 2017. The rate of cannabis related offences was more than 100 higher than the national rate, but will not be a factor on the rankings five years from now.

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 crime severity index was developed in 2004 to better represent Canadian crime rates, allowing for more violent offences to hold a higher weight than offences such as petty theft.

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.

The full details, including rankings sorting by the five-year change in crime and by specific offences can be found online.

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

“Smaller communities tend to be more susceptible to inflated crime rates, with one or two incidents getting magnified when they are recast for a population of 100,000. For this reason, Maclean’s ranks cities based on the crime severity index,” Maclean’s explains.

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.

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.

Kelowna's biggest offenses are fraud and homicide. Fraud sits at 592.8 with the Canadian national average being 299.05, and homicide at 3.79 with the national average being 1.68.

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.

The unwanted honour of claiming the number one spot goes to Wetaskiwin, AB. North Battleford, Sask, the city that topped the chart last year, fell to number 17.

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.

According to the report, assault rates, sexual assaults, robberies, impaired driving, and cocaine and cannabis trafficking have all gone down.

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.

The results of Canada’s Most Dangerous Places in 2019 are in and it’s looking pretty good for Kelowna.

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.

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.

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.