Regina police say a Statistics Canada report showing the city has the highest per capita crime rate among all major Canadian cities isn’t news to them.
The report also shows Regina as having the highest crime severity index (CSI) at 125.8 for 2016. The national average was 70.1
The CSI measures both the volume and seriousness of the offence.
From 2015 -2016, the Queen City saw an increase of 15 per cent last year as the number of crimes reported to police rose to 9,253 under the CSI, from 8,319 the previous year.
According to the report, a higher CSI in Regina was due to more “incidents of fraud and attempted murder”.
Chief Evan Bray echoed those findings. He said the city also has a problem with property crime and firearms. Bray said they are seeing more people use firearms in the commission of a crime.
“When you look at crime rates, we fell along with the rest of the country over the last decade, but we’ve seen an increase but 2016 was a tough year for us,” Bray said.
Over the last decade, Regina saw a significant drop in severe crimes – a 36 per cent decrease.
Regina also had the third most homicides per 100,000 people, behind Thunder Bay and Edmonton.
Bray also believed Regina residents are too trusting, urging them to lock their doors and not leave keys inside their vehicles.
“If I accuse Regina residents of anything, it’s being too trusting… We have a property crime problem here in Regina. It makes up a huge portion of these numbers,” he said.
But Mayor Michael Fougere called the statistics unacceptable and said the city is working towards changing that. He insisted Regina is safe compared with a decade ago and said he’s confident the police are doing “a wonderful job.”
“I never accept this as the status quo.”
“There clearly is a lot of work to be done. If we’re under the illusion that we’re going to have a crime free city, that’s not gonna happen. We have to work very hard and be nimble.”
As for the year ahead, the police chief said they’re hoping 2017 will bring a more positive picture.
“We’re seeing some real positive trends in terms of crime rates. Of course you can’t take your foot off the gas pedal and expect that’s going to continue for the rest of the year,” Bray said.
With files from Christa Dao.