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Cities in Thompson-Okanagan becoming safer: Macleans crime data

The Vernon courthouse is pictured in this Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019 photo.
November 19, 2019 - 11:35 AM

The Thompson-Okanagan is slowly becoming a safer place to call home.

At least, that’s what data from Macleans magazine’s Canada’s Most Dangerous Places 2020 roundup suggests.

At 44th of 237 on the violent crime list with a crime severity index rating of 132, Vernon is considered the most dangerous city in the Thompson-Okanagan.

Kamloops comes in at 67th with a crime severity index of 101, Penticton is 104th with 146, Kelowna is 139th with 119, West Kelowna is 210th with 58 and Lake Country is 161st with 60.


Vernon has dropped substantially from its ninth-most-dangerous ranking in the 2018 report (released in November 2017) to 44th in the 2020 report.

While the overall numbers are dropping, Vernon’s homicide rate, down to 2.37 per 100,000, remains above the national average of 1.76. However, that is with only one recorded homicide.

Sexual assaults rose to 61.68 per 100,000 but remain below the national average of 75.89.

Youth crimes are also down to 9.49 per 100,000 and remain below the Canadian average of 13.01 with four instances reported. Firearms offences and cannabis trafficking or production also remain well below the national average in Vernon.

Despite Vernon’s substantial drop in the rankings, the data shows that assault, robberies, break and enters and frauds are all well above the national average per 100,000.


Kamloops has also seen a drop on the Macleans list.

Despite having the same number of homicides as Vernon, one, Kamloops comes in below the national average with 1.02 per 100,000 due to its larger population. Assault and sexual assault rates are both higher in this year’s report and remain above the national average at 656.16 and 109.36, respectively.

Impaired driving, fraud and youth crime are also above the national average in Kamloops.


While Vernon and Kamloops both saw a drop in the Macleans ranking, Penticton shifted in the opposite direction.

Assault, firearms offences, drug trafficking and production and youth crimes all rose in the 2020 rankings and are above the national average, but Penticton’s highest number over the average comes with impaired driving. Penticton saw 199 instances of impaired driving. Combined with its relatively small population of 35,475, that left the South Okanagan city with 560.96 instances per 100,000, well above the national average of 190.49.


The Okanagan’s largest city also saw a slight bump in the rankings from 148th last year to 139th this year.

Compared to the 2018 report released in 2017, Kelowna has dropped substantially from 34th place on the list.

Like its neighbour to the north, Kelowna saw numbers above the national average in assault rates, break and enters, fraud and impaired driving offences.

Where Kelowna stands out, however, is under the drug trafficking ranking.

At 5th for "other drug trafficking offences," which includes narcotics other than cannabis and cocaine, Kelowna is the highest-ranking B.C. city, above Whistler at 11the and Vernon at 12th.

Lake Country, West Kelowna and Coldstream come in at the safest cities in the Okanagan, with a ranking of 161st, 210th and 219th, respectively.

In first place for the most dangerous city in Canada is Thompson, Man. followed by North Battleford, Sask. in second and Portage la Prairie, Man. in third.

Quesnel is Macleans magazine’s most dangerous city in B.C. in fifth place, followed by Terrace at eighth and Williams Lake at ninth.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Parker Crook or call (250) 864-7494 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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