Fewer crimes, but more severe violence in St. John's: RNC

The overall number of violent crimes in St. John's decreased last year, but the Violent Crime Severity index shot upward.

High-profile C.B.S., Tessier Place slayings influenced crime report for 2013

Royal Newfoundland Constabulary Chief Bill Janes says most types of serious crime have been declining in the Northeast Avalon. (CBC)

The overall number of violent crimes in St. John's decreased in 2013, but the Violent Crime Severity index shot upward, the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary says. 

Break and enters, vehicle thefts and incidents of violent crime were all down compared to the previous year.

Violent crime covers a wide range of offences, from murder to assault, armed robbery, break and enter, and many others.

Numbers released Wednesday by Statistics Canada and the RNC show that the total number of violent crimes is down seven per cent from 2012 to 2013.

The biggest decrease was in break and enters, which dropped by 25 per cent. Motor vehicle thefts were down 19 per cent. .

The RNC attributes part of the drop to what it calls "intelligence led" police initiatives, which themselves rely heavily on statistics to predict and prevent crimes.

"We've had particular incidents where our crime analysis actually told our officers what street to go to and what time of day to go to that location based on the analysis of the crimes that were happening, and our officers were successful in apprehending individuals," said RNC Chief Bill Janes.

However, the only number to go up was a striking one. The Violent Crime Severity Index went up nine per cent from 2012 to 2013.

The index is a way for Statistics Canada to represent the impact of violent crime on a community. Murder is heavily weighted in this stat.

There were three murders last year in the St. John's metropolitan area. Julianne Hibbs and Vince Dillon were gunned down in Conception Bay South in a double murder-suicide, and Joey Whalen died after a vicious beating at a drug house on Tessier Place.

"So when you get three incidents in 2013 and none in 2012, it really pushes up your numbers on that particular statistic," said Janes.

The RNC says the numbers reflect well on the community and the police force.