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Vernon dubbed ninth 'most dangerous place' in Canada

FILE PHOTO: An RCMP officer keeps watch over the back entrance to the boardwalk in Polson Park Thursday, June 29, 2017, following a brazen daytime shooting.
November 24, 2017 - 5:00 PM

VERNON - Vernon has landed ninth on a list that compares the level of crime in cities across Canada.

The list, which is put out by Maclean’s, ranks cities based on their Crime Severity Index — a measurement used by Statistics Canada. The index takes all police-reported crime and measures it based on the volume and seriousness of offences. It is not the same as the crime rate, which is the total number of reported crimes divided by the population. 

With a measurement of 157, Vernon makes the top ten list nationwide when it comes to Crime Severity Indexes.

The Maclean’s list also breaks the data down by the type of offence. Out of 229 cities with populations greater than 10,000, Vernon ranks fifth highest for break-and-enter offences, 15th for fraud, 16th for robbery and 16th for cocaine trafficking. (You can search by other types of crime here.)

In response to the ranking, the Vernon RCMP detachment provided an identical statement to the one we received last July, when StatsCan first released the Crime Severity Index figures.

In that statement, the detachment points to a number of factors — including prolific offenders, serious offences like attempted murder, and targeted enforcement — that can affect the numbers.

“Vernon is also a smaller city, and population size is a factor when determining rankings,” states the release. “A single crime — either violent or non-violent — can have a more significant impact on crime severity rankings than it would in larger centres.”

The detachment also suggests that a number of violent incidents in Vernon in 2016, such as three firearm related offences, would “significantly impact” the city’s violent crime rating.

“Once again, due to Vernon's relatively small population size even one prolific offender can significantly impact the non-violent crime rating,” the statement says.

In a description of the methodology behind the “most dangerous places in Canada” list, Maclean’s notes that it’s not uncommon for crime rates to become inflated in smaller communities. That’s why Maclean’s uses the Crime Severity Index, not crime rates, in its comparison. What Maclean’s suggests is more alarming than high crime rates in small communities, is the severity of those crimes.

The Vernon detachment says it is committed to developing crime reduction strategies that target known prolific offenders, and will “continue to work with our partners and the community to reduce all types of crime in Vernon.”

To contact a reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston or call 250-309-5230 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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