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Penticton has worst crime rate in the Okanagan, says Stats Canada

Data from 2020 shows the number of cleared cases has dropped over the last five years
RCMP. (File)

Despite crime dropping in severity across Canada, Penticton remains B.C.’s most crime-ridden city, according to Statistics Canada.

In the latest statistics for 2020, released on July 29, Penticton saw a crime severity index rating of 180.19, down from 232.60 in 2019 and up from the 143.18 rating in 2018.

Even the 2018 rating is above the current provincial average of 95.71, and well above the average in 2018 of 88.84.

Penticton sits higher than Vancouver’s 104.67, higher than Kelowna’s 129.93, higher than Vernon’s 146.64 and higher than West Kelowna’s 73.49.

The worst municipality in the province for crime in 2020 though was Williams Lake, which had a severity index rating of 251.44.

The crime severity index takes the data on the reported crimes in communities across Canada, attaches differing weights to each case depending on the specific crime and then puts them together to calculate the severity of crime for the area against a base average score of 100 set in 2006.

Non-violent crimes in Penticton continue to contribute the largest amount to the severity index. Non-violent crimes had a 200.76 severity rating, compared to 121.8 for violent crime.

The city of Penticton’s RCMP detachment has been overworked for years, with the highest case average per officer in the province. The mayor called for a special meeting to discuss hiring five additional officers. The meeting takes place on Thursday.

READ MORE: Property crime drops 15 per cent in 2020: RCMP report

The weighted clearance rate, which is based on the clearing of cases that go through the same calculation as the severity index, is another revealing statistic.

Since 2016, the clearance rate has decreased for both violent and non-violent crimes from 30.53 down to 22.7 in 2020. Year-over-year, the clearance rate dropped by 0.56 per cent from 2016 to 2017, by 8.07 per cent from 2017 to 2018, by 7.95 per cent from 2018 to 2019 and by 11.64 per cent from 2019 to 2020.

The clearance rate for violent crimes dropped the most, with a 37.38 per cent drop from 2019 to 2020. Over that same period, the non-violent clearance rate increased, from 16.99 by 15.54 per cent to 19.63.

Both numbers are still well below 2016’s clearance rates of 54.56 for violent crimes and 25.99 for non-violent crimes.

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Brennan Phillips

About the Author: Brennan Phillips

Brennan was raised in the Okanagan and is thankful every day that he gets to live and work in one of the most beautiful places in Canada.
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