Crime statistics over time. (X. Y. Zeng illustration)

Hope crime rate, crime severity hits five year high

Statistics Canada released new data on crime.

Hope’s crime rate and crime severity have hit a five-year high in 2016, according to Statistics Canada’s new data released on July 24.

In 2016, the Hope RCMP detachment recorded 254 incidents, which translates to a six per cent increase in crime rate over 2015.

Biggest increases in crime types from 2015 to 2016 include sexual violations against children, which went from zero to five, as did robberies. Theft over $5,000 that do not involve a motor vehicle went from one incident to eight. Break and enters doubled from 12 to 24 incidents, as did possession of stolen property, from four to eight incidents.

The biggest decreases include impaired operation of vehicles, from 12 to six incidents; theft of motor vehicles, from 15 to 10 incidents; fraud from eight to five incidents.

On the crime severity index, Hope saw an increase of 56.9 per cent.

For the crime severity index, Statistics Canada assigns each violation a weight, based on the violation’s incarceration rate and the average length of imprisonment. Therefore, murders will shift the index more so than cannabis possession. The weighted offences are summed and then divided by the population.

The crime severity index is further broken down into violent and non-violent crime severity indexes. Hope’s violent crime severity index rose 225 per cent, while the latter index rose by 28 per cent. Statistics Canada notes that some incidents not previously considered a violent incident have been included in the calculation, such as uttering threats, criminal harassment and forcible confinement.

For Boston Bar, the number of incidents went up from 120 to 124 in the same time period. Crime severity index is unavailable.

Hope RCMP detachment commander Karol Rehdner said the general public should not feel alarmed and worried.

“I wouldn’t want the public get overly concerned in people interpreting the numbers and saying, ‘Oh, Hope is truly an unsafe community.’ ”

He makes the distinction between crimes that are targeted and crimes which are random in nature.

“We did see an increase in violent crime files, and that’s not a good thing,” said Rehdner. “But it tends to be a targeted event where the people know each other.

“It doesn’t translate into a bigger issue for the community because it’s not something that is of a concerning nature of anybody not involved.”

Rehdner said he is more concerned about crime such as property crime, “because that is one where the victim and the suspect generally do not know each other.”

Rehdner added that at the beginning of 2016, they saw a rise in theft from motor vehicles. They did some targeted enforcement and saw a decline for the remainder of 2016.

Rehdner also said the crime severity index also gets swayed more strongly because Hope has a small population.

“Because it’s a statistical analysis, it comes in as a higher number. It doesn’t reflect the reality,” said Rehdner.

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