Severe crime in Newfoundland and Labrador has bucked a national trend and soared by 10 per cent, with St. John's standing out across the country for an increase in violent crime, new figures show.
Statistics Canada reported that while reports of crime across the country are declining, Newfoundland and Labrador reported significant increases in crime. Violent crime in the province was up by 13 per cent in 2010, and up by 29 per cent in St. John's, the most significant increase in any Canadian city.
But according to Bob Johnston, the Chief of the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary, those numbers do not mean Newfoundland and Labrador is becoming a dangerous place.
"The Crime Severity Index gives more weight to more severe crimes," said Johnston.
"For example, a homicide is weighted more heavily than causing a disturbance. So if you have two homicides in our jurisdiction, and the year before you had no homicides, that's going to have a significant impact on the crime severity index."
Johnston said two homicides in 2010 — the killings of Doug Flynn, 19, and Ann Marie Shirran, 32, helped raise those percentages.
A daytime stabbing at the Village Mall in St. John's, and a few dozen armed robberies at convenience stores in St. John's explained the increase in violent crime.
In both alleged murders, the victims and the accused knew each other. Apart from convenience store clerks, most citizens of St. John's — and Newfoundland and Labrador — are not likely to encounter serious or violent crimes close up.