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Slight increase in total police-reported crimes in 2021: Regina police

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WATCH: Regina's crime numbers for 2021 are out, with rates in certain fields decreasing, while others saw numbers climb – Mar 2, 2022

The Regina Police Service (RPS) is reporting that total police-reported crimes were up in 2021 compared with 2020.

The RPS shared its year-end statistics for 2021 on Tuesday at a Board of Police Commissioners meeting in Regina. The report shows there were 18,552 total crimes reported to police, a three per cent jump from the previous year and half a per cent higher when compared with statistics from 10 years earlier.

Included in the total police-reported crimes category are crimes against a person and other Criminal Code violations, which saw increases of two per cent last year compared with 2020.

Read more: Regina’s first homicide victim of 2022 identified, son charged

However, those numbers do not come close to the 10-year high that was recorded in 2019, when there were 24,650 total reported crimes in the city.

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Regina police say this does not include traffic and drug violations.

Regina police say total crime is up from 2020 but well below 2019 numbers ⁠— the highest over the past 10 years.
Regina police say total crime is up from 2020 but well below 2019 numbers ⁠— the highest over the past 10 years. Regina Police Service

When focusing on crimes against a person, which counts the number of victims of violent violations rather than the total number of events, police say there were 3,029 reported occurrences last year. Not only was it an increase of two per cent from 2020, when there were 2,975 cases, but it was also an eight per cent increase from 2012.

The number of homicides in Regina jumped to a 10-year high of 15 in 2021. Police say the number of homicides has risen over the last three years from nine in 2019 and 11 in 2020.

Read more: 3rd person charged in Regina’s 15th homicide of 2021

Seven of the homicides last year involved a firearm and four involved an edged weapon, according to the report. Eleven of the homicides appeared to be associated with risk factors such as drug trafficking, illegal activity and gang association, police said on Tuesday.

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However, the RPS notes there were fewer attempted murder incidents in 2021 compared with previous years. Last year, there were 20 attempted murders reported to Regina police, down from 26 in 2020 and 39 in 2019.

Overall, homicides and attempted murders have more than doubled when compared with numbers from 10 years ago.

The number of homicides in Regina reached a 10-year high in 2021 when there were 15 ⁠— an increase from 11 reported in 2020 and 2013.
The number of homicides in Regina reached a 10-year high in 2021 when there were 15 ⁠— an increase from 11 reported in 2020 and 2013. Regina Police Service

There was a four per cent rise in total assaults reported to police in 2021 compared with 2020. Police say the total number of assaults has remained relatively consistent over the past 10 years.

Sexual assaults reached a 10-year high in 2021 when there were 207 reported to police. The previous high was in 2018 when there were 200.

There were also 102 other sex crimes, which include sexual interference, invitation to sexual touching, luring a child via a computer and voyeurism. This category saw a slight decrease compared with 2020’s 104 other sex crimes, but is still significantly up from the 20 reported in 2012.

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Robberies took a small dip in 2021 when there were 266 reported to Regina police, down from 274 in 2020. The 10-year high was recorded in 2019 when there were 305 robberies.

One category that continued on an upward trajectory was non-consensual distribution of intimate images, which has seen consecutive increases since 2018 when there were seven. Police report there were 16 of these incidents in 2021.

Read more: Arrest made in 4-month long Regina homicide investigation

Reported cases of extortion continue to increase in Regina and across the country, police stated during Tuesday’s meeting. There were 25 incidents reported last year in the Queen City ⁠— a 10-year high, up from 13 in 2020.

The RPS believes the rise in extortion cases may be attributable to an increase in online extortion tactics. In Regina, police say over 90 per cent of the city’s reported extortion crimes followed “a specific pattern involving social media, an add request or message from an unknown person, with the unknown person establishing false trust by sharing intimate images or videos to urge a victim to reveal theirs,” the report said.

“The anonymous individual will record and threaten to disclose the victim’s private images or videos to the victim’s social media connections, family and friends, unless they provide money. Frequently, these cases involved young persons, embarrassment, and hesitation to report or seek help.”

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Crimes against property increased by two per cent when compared with 2020, with 10,720 of these incidents in 2021. Police warn that opportunities for criminals may continue to be altered by changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

While crimes against property grew in 2021 compared with 2020, it was still well below the 15,952 cases reported in 2019 by Regina police.
While crimes against property grew in 2021 compared with 2020, it was still well below the 15,952 cases reported in 2019 by Regina police. Regina Police Service

Theft was up by one per cent (4,575) in 2021 stacked next to 2020 numbers (4,524). This includes theft, shoplifting and theft from a motor vehicle, but does not include theft of a motor vehicle, which increased to 917 in 2021 from 826 in 2020.

Police found there were 10 per cent more break and enter incidents in 2021 than in 2020 but fewer than in 2019. Of last year’s break and enters, 701 were at residential properties, 168 were at businesses and 884 were placed in the “other” category.

Break and enter incidents were up in 2021 from 2020, but still below from numbers recorded in 2018 and 2019.
Break and enter incidents were up in 2021 from 2020, but still below from numbers recorded in 2018 and 2019. Regina Police Service

Another increase was in the number of arsons reported to the RPS in 2021. Arsons eclipsed the 300 mark for the first time in the past 10 years, reaching 315 last year. Not only is this up from 247 in 2020, but police also say the number of arsons has grown each year since 2017 when there were 124.

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“According to the arson investigator, individuals breaking into abandoned houses and starting fires to remain warm or potentially purposefully igniting them was a pattern in 2021,” police said in the year-end report. “Several of these occurrences looked to be related to homelessness and substance use. In some cases, the same addresses were set ablaze several times.”

Read more: Fatal fire deemed not criminal by investigators: Regina police

Police add that overflowing dumpsters and bins were frequently targeted by arsonists, but there was often a lack of witnesses or evidence to move investigations forward in these instances.

“Aside from the typical profile of young people, more adults have been observed setting fires.”

Regina police state that the COVID-19 pandemic appears to have continued to make an impact on crime trends in 2021 with marginal increases in crime.

However, Regina police admit they wonder whether the city’s crime rate will return to pre-COVID-19 levels or continue to evolve into a new environment.

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