Kelowna climbs to 3rd on national crime severity index list, but police say context needed

Click to play video: 'Kelowna 3rd on national crime severity index: Statistics Canada'
Kelowna 3rd on national crime severity index: Statistics Canada
There is no shortage of crime in the Central Okanagan as Kelowna has been named as having the third highest crime severity index for all of Canada – Jul 31, 2021

Kelowna has climbed one rank on a very undesirable ladder.

This week, Statistics Canada released its national crime severity index for 2020, and the largest city in B.C.’s Interior was ranked third overall, up from fourth in 2019.

The only cities ahead of Kelowna were Lethbridge, at No. 1, and Winnipeg, at No. 2.

Read more: Lethbridge ranked worst on StatsCan’s 2020 crime severity index

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Annually released, the crime severity index measures the severity of police-reported violations, including traffic offences, with serious crimes given more weight.

According to Statistics Canada, the national average for 2020 was 73.44.

Kelowna’s rating, which includes Peachland, West Kelowna and Lake Country, was 111.9. Winnipeg was at 116.3 while Lethbridge was at 138.7.

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Rounding out the top five were Saskatoon at 105.7, plus Regina and Edmonton at 104.8.

Elsewhere in B.C., Vancouver had a CSI rate of 88.6; Abbotsford-Mission was 77.2; and Victoria was 75.8.

Click to play video: 'Kelowna climbs national crime severity index'
Kelowna climbs national crime severity index

While Kelowna may have climbed up one spot, overall, the area’s CSI rate dropped eight per cent from 2019. That year, Kelowna’s CSI rate was 121.4.

In a statement to Global News, local RCMP said Kelowna is a safe city.

“We recognize that this ranking may be disturbing, but Kelowna is a safe city, and it is important to look at our CSI statistics in context,” said RCMP Cpl. Jocelyn Noseworthy.

Police say with Kelowna being a resort destination, “while we experience a significant increase in visitors that number is not reflected in our population statistics but can affect reported crime.”

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Noseworthy noted that Kelowna is ranked ninth in violent crime but second in non-violent crime, and it’s those non-violent crimes that pushed Kelowna up.

“While all crimes are personal, our preliminary review shows that much of the crime that is affecting the Kelowna CMA non-violent crime rating are crimes of opportunity and proactive files that police generate,” said Noseworthy.

RCMP said the files include theft from motor vehicles, shoplifting, theft under $5,000 (which is often theft from yards or open garages), mischief, and disturbing the peace.

“Due to the Kelowna CMA’s relatively small population size,” Noseworthy said, “one or two prolific offenders who commit these crimes can have a dramatic effect on the region’s crime statistics.”

Click to play video: 'Lethbridge mayor, police chief comment on crime severity index'
Lethbridge mayor, police chief comment on crime severity index

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