Prince Albert Police Service reviewing Annual Crime Severity Index (CSI) Statistics
Today, the Canadian Center for Justice Statistics (Stats Canada) released the 2019 Crime Statistics and the Crime Severity Index (CSI) values for Canada. The annual rankings use police-reported data to compare the severity of crime and violent crime in roughly 300 communities with populations over 10,000. The comparison is based on the ratio of crime versus the core population for a community, as opposed to the totality of crime in communities.
The 2019 overall ranking for Prince Albert is unchanged from the previous year, remaining at 6th overall for cities with a population of more than 10,000 people. Our community is ranked 3rd for violent crime, an increase from 4th place in 2018; and 9th for non-violent crime, a decrease from 7th place the previous year.
The rankings do not reflect this current year.
Each year, the Prince Albert Police Service carefully analyzes the data contained in the annual CSI report to ensure that as a service, we are aware of the relevant issues that lead to crime in our community. We continue to monitor and respond to an increase in violent crime in our community, which in 2019 included a tragic 6 homicides. The police service has made arrests and laid charges in all six of those files.
Across Saskatchewan, statistics show there were 55 homicides in 2019, an increase of 21 since 2018. The statistics show violent crime continues to increase across the country and specifically in Western Canada.
“We know that public safety and crime is a priority for residents in Prince Albert, and it’s a priority for the police service as well,” said Police Chief Jonathan Bergen. “Like others across the country, our community is seeing more gun violence and gang activity on our streets, and we will be relentless in our efforts to suppress it.”
“We want residents to know our police service has dedicated teams working to combat gangs, guns and violence and we want the public to know that we are part of the conversations that are happening to address poverty, addictions and mental health issues in order to reduce violent crime.”
A closer look at our statistics for the last decade shows that while violent crime continues to trend upward, overall crime in Prince Albert has decreased over the last two years. The statistics show overall crime continues to be at its lowest in nearly 10 years.
“Our community is not unlike others in Canada that are also dealing with high rates of violent crime, and what seem like high rates given their population numbers,” Chief Bergen said. “We know we’re not alone and we continue to work with governments of all levels and agency and community partners to address the root-cause issues that lead to violent crime.”
The annual CSI rankings assign different weights to different crimes, with homicides, robberies and assaults ranking more heavily than disturbances, intoxication arrests or frauds, for example. Across the country, there were also higher rates of fraud, child pornography offences, threats, mischief and sexual assaults reported in 2019.
The police service continues to work with groups such as Str8UP, the Prince Albert Grand Council, the Prince Albert Indian & Metis Friendship Centre, the YWCA, Saskatchewan Health Authority, the City and the province to engage on solutions to address poverty, addictions and mental health issues in our community. Our service is focused on the health and wellbeing of the entire community and continues to support initiatives such as the gang violence reduction strategy, HUB services and awareness about Missing and Murdered Indigenous People, and are strong supporters of programs such as the Police and Crisis Team (PACT), Child Protection Unit, and Victims Services.
Our outreach efforts are continuing around the community to support and assist the most vulnerable members of our society.
The 2019 CSI statistics are based on a core population of 37,000 Prince Albert residents, rather than the actual number of calls for service. The Prince Albert Police Service also serves a large transient and rural population.
Figures from the City of Prince Albert show the retail population of the local community – or the number of people who come to the city for appointments, shopping and entertainment each day – is actually around 190,000 people.
The police service continues to support numerous community-based initiatives and participates on boards and committees aimed at helping youth, families and individuals lead healthy and positive lifestyles.
The 2019 report contains a significant amount of data and the Prince Albert Police Service will spend the next few weeks reviewing the numbers and studying the information.
While the recent report does not reflect 2020 call numbers, members with the police service review statistics on a daily basis to study trends and ensure resources are being deployed in an accurate and effective manner.