Victoria assault rate more than double Canadian average: Maclean's
Victoria Police Department headquarters on April 12, 2019. (CTV Vancouver Island)
VICTORIA – While crime on Vancouver Island is lower than it was 10 years ago, statistics show a consistent year-over-year rise in crime in 2018, according to Maclean's magazine.
On Tuesday, the magazine released its annual ranking of Canada's Most Dangerous Places using information from Statistics Canada and municipal police departments. Out of the 237 Canadian communities ranked by Maclean's, Victoria and Esquimalt (which were considered one community) ranked the 32nd most dangerous city in the country.
Meanwhile, other island communities placed relatively high on the list, with Port Alberni ranking 17th, Nanaimo ranking 69th and North Cowichan placing 72nd.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, four island communities were among the safest in the country. On the most-dangerous list, Sidney placed 211th, Central Saanich ranked 226th, North Saanich placed 228th and Oak Bay was ranked the second-safest community in Canada at 236th place.
According to Maclean's, Victoria and Esquimalt have a significantly higher rate of several types of violent crimes than the rest of the country.
On the magazine's crime severity index, Canada's average rate is 457.01 assaults per population of 100,000. According to Maclean's, Victoria's assault rate rings in at 959.28, more than double the national average.
Meanwhile, Victoria's sexual assault rate is also above the Canadian average of 75.89 with a total of 128.93 assaults per 100,000 people. However, the magazine notes that the number of sexual assaults declined in Victoria in 2018 from 2017.
Victoria also had a higher rate of several non-violent types of crime compared to the rest of the country. The South Island city saw more cases of break-and-entry, fraud and impaired driving than the national average.
While Victoria saw a higher rate of several serious crimes than the rest of the country, the city also saw significantly fewer homicides, firearm offences and drug trafficking or production cases.
Earlier this year, Statistics Canada released their findings on the volume and severity of crimes reported in the Capital Region for 2018. In their findings, the government agency found that Victoria and Esquimalt's total rate of crime increased by five per cent, while the national rate of crime rose by two per cent.
According to Statistics Canada, violent crime in the city rose by two and a half per cent in 2018, while non-violent crime was up more than six per cent when compared to 2017.
While the numbers show a year-over-year increase in crime in Greater Victoria, crime has actually declined significantly over the past decade.
Between 2008 and 2018, the crime severity index for Victoria fell by more than a third, dropping from 177 points in 2008 to 117 points in 2018, according to Statistics Canada.
To compile statistics for crimes of assault and sexual assault, the Maclean's ranking also included reports of level 1 assaults and sexual assaults, the least serious level which generally mean crimes without the use of a weapon or evidence of bodily harm.
The Maclean's full list of Canada's most dangerous places can be found online here.