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Regina still has one of the highest crime rates in Canada, but numbers are trending down

Click to play video: 'CCJS statistics show high Sask. crime rate' CCJS statistics show high Sask. crime rate
Despite a drop in violent offences, Saskatchewan still has the highest crime rate among Prairie provinces. Cami Kepke reports – Jul 23, 2018

A year after leading the country in crime rates, there are small signs of changing times in the Queen City.

That’s according to new numbers released by Statistics Canada this morning.

Regina’s crime severity index dropped by 11 per cent in 2017, the second largest dip in the country.

That follows a 15 per cent increase from the year before.

Regina Police Service Chief Evan Bray says less break and enters and a decrease in robberies contributed to the decline.

However, Regina still remains near the top with the third highest crime severity index and the second highest crime rates- with Saskatoon snatching the unsavory number one spot.

“It doesn’t mean we don’t have trouble spots. Clearly, we do,” Regina Mayor Michael Fougere said. “It just means in a trend, nationally, we’re better off than we were a year ago.”

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The province’s capital also saw a 40 per cent drop in attempted murders – though sexual assaults, drug offences (methamphetamine and opiods like fentanyl, in particular), and firearm related offences are on this rise.

“We know homicide rates in our city, in some cases, are attached to gang crime, and in many cases have to do with drugs and addictions,” Bray said. “Our ability to deal with those two issues really is our best way to fight that sort of serious crime in our community.”

Bray told reporters it was important to look at the root causes of each statistic.

In the case of a seven per cent increase in reported sexual assaults from 2016 to 2017, Bray pointed to an increased number of people coming forward as a result of the #metoo movement, and RPS policy changes to the handling of complaints.

“We made quite a few significant changes here in terms of the environment, the location in which a sexual assault is reported, the manner in which they’re investigated, and event the training we give our investigators for investigating a sexual assault,” Bray noted. “Victims need to feel safe in coming forward, and I think that is what you see- this is not acceptable behaviour and as a result, we’ve seen an increase in reporting. I’m happy to say, in our city, a better investigation is being done as a result of some of the adaptations we’ve made.”

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Across the prairies, provinces are also struggling with rural crime.

In Saskatchewan, the rural crime rate is 36 per cent higher than in urban centres. Officers say city police, RCMP, and concentrated units need to work together to tackle the issue.

“We do daily communication in terms of ‘Did a break and enter happen in rural Saskatchewan, and is there a possibility for those firearms to show up in our city or in Saskatoon?'” Bray explained. “Anytime we can recover those, not only are you taking firearms off the street, but that’s a piece of the puzzle we can give to RCMP to hopefully solve that BNE.”

 

 

 

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