Penticton most crime ridden city in Thompson-Okanagan and much of B.C. | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Penticton most crime ridden city in Thompson-Okanagan and much of B.C.

Image Credit: ADOBE STOCK

While Kelowna got the attention last week for having the highest crime rate of larger metropolitan areas in Canada, Penticton has got it beat.

The Kelowna Census Metropolitan area had a crime rate of 11,112 cases per 100,000 residents. That includes the entire Central Okanagan regional district.

Take away the smaller communities and Kelowna's rate jumps to 14,487 police reported incidents per 100,000 residents.

READ MORE: Kelowna's crime rate jumps 10% while numbers drop provincewide: Statistics Canada

But, it still lags far behind Penticton. That city had 21,604 cases per 100,000 reported in 2021.

This is not unusual for Penticton. For 10 of the last 16 years it had the worst crime rate of the Thompson-Okanagan's largest cities. For five of those 16 years, most recently in 2014, it ranked number two. Only in 2013 did it slip to number four.

By comparison, Kamloops at 14,236 and Vernon at 14,487 were very close to Kelowna. West Kelowna had the lowest rate amongst the five largest cities in the Thompson-Okanagan at 6,184. For B.C. as a whole, the crime rate was 8,318 reported incidents per 100,000 population in 2021.

This distinction is not new for Penticton. It had the worst crime rate of the Okanagan's largest cities each year since 2014.

There’s an even more telling way of calculating crime stats, rather than just by the sheer number of files.

That’s the Crime Severity Index that assigns a weight to each crime based on whether convictions bring jail sentences and, if so, for how long.

While all robberies carry the same weight, regardless of severity, something like murder carries a weight 1,000 time higher than cannabis possession, Statistics Canada says.

On that scale, Penticton has been the highest of the region’s five largest cities for the past five years, coming in at 200.6 in 2021.

That was also the fifth highest score in B.C. behind Quesnel (246.8), Prince George (223.9), Williams Lake (214.6) and Merritt (213.2).

By comparison, the B.C. rate is 92.9 and Surrey, often portrayed as a dangerous city, was at 86.

Kamloops, Kelowna and Vernon all came in between 135 and 142. West Kelowna, again, was the lowest at 81.9.

The Crime Severity Index also breaks down rankings based on violent versus non-violent crimes.

Of the Thompson-Okanagan’s five largest cities, Penticton was the highest on the violent crime scale two out of the last three years, hitting 179.7 in 2021.

West Kelowna showed the best rate at 94, just below the provincial average of 95.2.

Kamloops ranked second in the region on the violent crime index at 133.9, Kelowna came in at 124.3 and Vernon at 112.4.

Penticton also had the highest non-violent crime ranking in the region’s five largest cities for each of the last five years, reaching 207.7 in 2021.

Check out Statistic Canada’s Crime Severity Index here.

Thompson-Okanagan municipal crime severity index rankings:

  • 48.3 – Armstrong
  • 57.7 – Lake Country
  • 59.4 – Peachland
  • 70.5 – Summerland
  • 71.1 – Spallumcheen
  • 81.9 – West Kelowna
  • 82.9 – Salmon Arm
  • 135.3 – Kamloops
  • 116.7 – Osoyoos
  • 140.3 – Vernon
  • 141.9 – Kelowna
  • 200.6 – Penticton
  • 213.2 – Merritt

Crime Severity Index rankings for select B.C. cities:

  • 72.6 – Abbotsford
  • 75.3 – Burnaby
  • 86.0 – Surrey
  • 88.0 – New Westminster
  • 90.1 – Vancouver
  • 106.9 – Richmond
  • 129.7 – Nanaimo
  • 132.6 – Chilliwack
  • 148.4 – Victoria
  • 223.4 – Prince George
  • 246.8 – Quesnel

To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 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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