Calgary crime rate and severity decline in 2016 as Edmonton's levels rise
Statistics Canada data show opposite trajectories in Alberta's 2 largest cities
Crime in Calgary declined in both frequency and severity in 2016 after a sharp spike the year before, according to data released Monday by Statistics Canada.
The city's crime rate dropped by 1.7 per cent, and its crime severity index — a measure of the relative seriousness of criminal offences — fell by 5.6 per cent, compared to 2015.
In Edmonton, by contrast, the crime rate grew by 5.2 per cent and the crime severity index increased by two per cent.
Both measures were more or less flat, at a provincial level.
Calgary's crime rate — a measure of total criminal incidents per 100,000 population — has historically been below the national rate and well below Edmonton's rate, and it remained so in 2016.
The crime severity index in Calgary, however, jumped above the national average in 2015 and remained above the national level in 2016.
There were 39 homicides in the Calgary metropolitan area in 2015 — 12 of which were deemed to be gang-related — according to Statistics Canada at the time.
Statistics Canada calculates that index by weighting the seriousness of criminal offences based on the incarceration rate and the actual sentences that are handed down by courts across Canada upon conviction.
A index of 100 is equal to the national level of crime severity in the year 2006.
The Statistics Canada data include only crimes up to the end of 2016 and do not include crime from the current year.
Calgary police Chief Roger Chaffin said last week he is concerned about rising levels of gun violence in 2017.
There were 45 shootings in Calgary between January and June, compared to 37 in the first half of 2016. That's an increase of 22 per cent.
There have been 17 homicides in the city so far this year.
- MORE CALGARY NEWS | Homeless Banff worker spends days in park, nights in McDonald's
- MORE CALGARY NEWS | 'Battle for the centre' emerges in Alberta as unite-the-right vote succeeds