RCMP search the trail leading to Polson Park behind the Kal Tire office in June after reports of a shooting in the park. (Bretany Tourout/Morning Star)

Crime rate jumps nearly seven per cent in Vernon

According to the latest figures released by Statistics Canada, crime is on the rise

Statistics Canada has released the latest crime severity index (CSI) report and the numbers show crime in Vernon is on the rise.

According to figures released this week, the crime rate in the Vernon municipal area has jumped 6.88 per cent, and the rate in the rural region has spiked 33.69 per cent.

The municipal numbers on the CSI recorded show 5,028 Criminal Code offences in 2016, 343 incidents higher than the 4,685 incidents recorded in 2015.

“I can confirm that in the latest Crime Severity Index of police-reported crimes, Vernon saw an increase in both the violent crime and the non-violent crime severity in 2016 over 2015,” said Vernon RCMP Supt. J.B. McNamara in response.

“While the annual crime severity report is based on police statistics, a number of factors can contribute positively or negatively including prolific offenders, serious persons offences (like Attempted Murder), and targeted enforcement by the police.”

Related: Vernon RCMP investigate rash of break-and-enters

McNamara argues that Vernon is also a smaller city and population is a factor when determining the rankings.

“A single crime — either violent or non-violent — can have a more significant impact on crime severity rankings than it would in larger centres,” said McNamara.

When looking at violent Criminal Code offences, offences like murder and assault, the percentage difference is even worse for the Vernon area.

A total of 734 violent crimes were recorded in 2016, a 12.28 per cent jump over crimes recorded in 2015. That number works out to a rate of 1,849.33 violent criminal code offences per 100,000 people, notably higher than the provincial rate of 1,139.34 per 100,000 people.

“In 2016, Vernon experienced a number of violent incidents, including three where a firearm was discharged. These incidents, which were linked to the drug trade, would significantly impact the city’s violent crime rating,” explained McNamara.

It’s a point also shared by Vernon Mayor Akbal Mund. While Mund said he had not yet had a chance to go over the CSI report, he knows the numbers can be influenced by specific events.

“There were some assaults last year that we had and high-profile incidents in the downtown core. It is very hard to judge how those numbers react,” said Mund. “Numbers go up and down as police arrest prolific offenders. Once those offenders get back out, numbers climb. I always go back to the line RCMP always use, 95 per cent of the crime is committed by five per cent of the criminals.”

The total number of alleged offenders charged in 2016 came in at 787, up from 758 in 2015. For violent crimes, 258 were charged, a 12 per cent increase over the 230 persons charged in 2015.

While the numbers may concern some, Mund said he still has full confidence in the Vernon RCMP.

“I believe Vernon is a safe community,” said Mund. “Violent crimes happen in every community, but it’s the frequency. If this was happening every weekend then yes, I would be very, very concerned, but it is not happening on a weekly basis.”

McNamara said the detachment is “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.”

Statistics Canada uses the CSI to measure the volume and severity of police-reported crime in Canada.

In 2016, the national CSI increased one per cent from 70.1 in 2015 to 71.0, but remained 29 per cent lower than a decade earlier in 2006.

At 5,224 incidents per 100,000 population, the police-reported crime rate, which measures the volume of police-reported crime, was virtually unchanged in 2016. This rate was 28 per cent lower than a decade earlier in 2006.

There were almost 1.9 million police-reported Criminal Code incidents (excluding traffic) reported by police in 2016, approximately 27,700 more incidents than in 2015.

Related: Kelowna still safe despite high crime rate, says mayor

The highest crime rate in the country for 2016 was Regina, followed by Saskatoon and Kelowna. Abbotsford was also noted as one of the top rates in Canada.

Related: Crime rate down six per cent in Abbotsford-Mission

Just Posted

Cure for Alzheimer’s disease remains elusive

Complexity of the brain still defies discovery of drug treatment

World Down Syndrome Day: The up side of Down

A Kelowna family’s journey with Down Syndrome: ‘There is tremendous beauty in these kids’

Closing arguments in Kelowna murder trial expected today

Closing arguments in the trial of a Kelowna man accused of fatally stabbing his friend

Historic grad ceremony for Westbank First Nation technicians

14 Indigenous workers become first public works technicians in B.C.

Kelowna artists donate to nonprofit

The Kelowna Palette Club held its annual Simply Art Show with donations to United Way

Wilkie returns home with three medals in tow

Paralympic champion returns home with a gold, silver and bronze from the 2018 PyeongChang games

Vancouver Island university develops program to help kids cope with overdose crisis

A child and youth care professor worked with students to develop projects focused on children, families and communities dealing with opioids.

Liberals tried pilot project with Facebook data whistleblower in 2016: source

Cambridge Analytica has been accused of improperly using information from more than 50 million Facebook accounts

No opting out: Canadians to get emergency alerts on their phones soon

Canada’s wireless providers are preparing for a looming update to the National Public Alerting System

Just For Laughs sold to Howie Mandel

Just For Laughs sold to Howie Mandel and U.S. company ICM Partners

Texas bombing suspect blows himself up as SWAT moves in

The suspect in a spate of bombing attacks that have terrorized Austin over the past month blew himself up with an explosive device as authorities closed in

Witnesses: Boko Haram returns Nigerian kidnapped schoolgirls

Witnesses say Boko Haram militants have returned an unknown number of the 110 girls who were abducted from their Nigeria school a month ago.

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Most Read