PENTICTON - Recently released crime statistics show Penticton's concerns about crime might be a little over-blown when comparing to other B.C. cities of roughly the same size.
Statistics Canada breaks down multiple crime categories for all the province’s detachments, as well as providing a crime severity index number to each municipality.
The crime severity indexw measures the volume and severity of crime, giving added weight to greater crimes like crimes against people over property. Penticton’s (population 33,761) crime severity index went up to 145.92 in 2016 from 119.32 in 2012.
That puts the city between Vernon, population 40,116, with an indexed crime rate of 156.99 in 2016 and Campbell River, population 35,138 at 102.8 in 2016.
A recent town hall meeting hosted by Penticton RCMP Superintendent Ted De Jager revealed Penticton is plagued by a high rate of theft from vehicle crimes, two categories he would like to reduce.
According to Stats Can data, Penticton’s property crime rate also placed in the middle of the three cities, with Penticton reporting 2,888 property crimes in 2016 compared to 3,215 for Vernon and 1,655 for Campbell River.
But when the crimes are compared based on incidents per 100,000 population — an apples to apples comparison — Penticton scored highest for property crimes at 8,903 per 100,000, compared to 8,100 for Vernon and 5,139 for Campbell River.
Penticton recorded 541 thefts under $5,000 from vehicles in 2016, compared to 736 for Vernon and 224 for Campbell River.
On a crimes per 100,000 population comparison, Vernon topped the list at 1854.37, with Penticton at 1,667.9 and Campbell River at 695.63.
In each city, property crimes stats all dipped in 2013, followed by increasing numbers in the following three years.
The same trend applied to theft from vehicles, with the exception of 2016, when Penticton and Campbell River’s statistics for the offence dipped.
When it comes to violent crime stats between the three cities, Penticton had the fewest crimes based on population, with 460 incidents, or 1,418.18 incidents per 100,000 people, compared to Vernon’s 734 incidents at 1,849.33 per 100,000, and Campbell River’s 528 incidents at 1,639.7 per 100,000.
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