Crime severity up in Alberta; rural crime also up: Statistics Canada

Alberta's crime severity index went up in 2017, Statistics Canada said.
Alberta's crime severity index went up in 2017, Statistics Canada said. File/ Global News

The severity of crime went up in Alberta in 2017, according to new data released by Statistics Canada Monday.

The province’s Crime Severity Index (CSI) rose in 2017, with a CSI of 110.1, or up 4.9 per cent.

The crime rate went up 3.6 per cent, or about 8,478 criminal incidents per 100,000 people. This continues an upward trend in severe crime since 2014.

The CSI is a measure of the volume and severity of crimes reported to the police, such as homicides and assaults.

“The CSI takes the crime rate and treats the more serious violations with more weight,” said Mary Allen, senior analyst with Statistics Canada.

The CSI differs from the crime rate, in that the crime rate measures the amount of crime reported to the police per 100,000 population. The data covers Canada’s census metropolitan areas, which are cities with a population of 100,000, with at least 50,000 living within the core.

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Edmonton continues to deal with the highest severe crime in the province, with a CSI of about 112. This is an increase of five per cent from 2016.

WATCH: Rural Alberta leaders raise the alarm over crime rates

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Rural Alberta leaders raise the alarm over crime rates

Meanwhile down the QEII highway in Calgary, the CSI was lower at about 81, with a year-over-year percentage change of six per cent.

Allen said half of the CSI increase in Calgary can be sourced to an increase in property crimes like breaking and entering.

READ MORE: ‘Crime is everywhere’: Rural victim fed up after face-to-face encounter with suspect

The rural crime rate continues to increase in the prairie provinces, which is higher than the provinces’ urban crime rates, the agency reported.

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“Almost half of crime in Canada’s rural areas occurred in these three provinces, which accounted for about a quarter of Canada’s population served by rural police services,” they said.

However, Alberta saw a 38 per cent higher rural crime rate when compared to urban crime rates.

“In Manitoba and Saskatchewan, the high rates of rural crime were the results of higher rates of all types of crime (violent, property and other crime),” the agency said.

Allen said the type of rural crime was different in Alberta.

“Much of the difference can be attributed to property crime,” said Allen. “They’re still very high level, but we will be doing more analysis.”

READ MORE: Saskatoon has highest reported crime rate in Canada

The city with the highest reported crime rate in Canada for 2017 is Saskatoon, Sask.

The agency reported the crime severity index increased for the third consecutive year nationally, while the national crime rate rose by one per cent.

With files from Global News’ Adam MacVicar