Police-reported crime is on the rise across Canada and within the Comox Valley, however, federal crime stats indicate the Crime Severity Index in 2019 remains nine per cent lower than a decade ago.
In updated numbers released by Statistics Canada Oct. 29, the CSI increased five per cent in the year prior to the pandemic – from 75.9 in 2018 to 79.5 in 2019 across the country. The CSI measures the volume and severity of police-reported crime in Canada and has a base value of 100.
The result of the increase is based around six main offences: fraud; child pornography; uttering threats; mischief; level 1 sexual assault (without a weapon or evidence of bodily harm) and shoplifting under $5,000.
Police reported more than 2.2 million Criminal Code incidents (excluding traffic offences) in 2019 – 164,784 more than in 2018.
Statistics show the homicide rate for Indigenous peoples was 6.5 times higher than for the country’s non-Indigenous population; Indigenous people account for five per cent of Canada’s population but 27 per cent of victims nationally in the past year.
Within British Columbia, the CSI rose 17.3 per cent to 104.4. The number of police-reported crime (per 100,000 population) rose the same percentage as well to 8,713.
In the Comox Valley, the CSI as recorded via the Comox Valley RCMP rose to 47.13 in 2019 up from 37.19 one year prior. The highest CSI within the past 10 years was in 2017 at 47.82.
There were 1,450 actual incidents in the Comox Valley in 2019 – the highest amount within the past five years. There were 195 adults charged and seven youth charged last year.
Similar to Canadian numbers, the Comox Valley saw a rise in sexual assault (level 1) numbers in 2019. There were 15 actual incidents, up three from 2018, and the highest within the past five years. Six people were charged and eight were cleared.
Also following the national trend was the number of incidents of uttering threats. There were 88 incidents recorded in 2019 in the area, up from 37 in the previous year. There were nine people charged and 22 people cleared of charges.
Assault (level 1) incidents were also the highest in five years; in 2019 90 incidents were recorded, up 20 from the previous year. Sixty people were cleared and 25 people were charged.
The number of impaired driving incidents also rose significantly – there were 111 incidents in 2019 compared to 73 in 2018 with the Valley. The increase may be associated with changes to Canada’s impaired driving laws in 2018, as 2019 saw the largest increase in the rate of police-reported impaired driving in more than three decades across Canada.
For the full report to see the breakdown of individual violations, visit https://bit.ly/37SIlVr.