New Brunswick

Saint John safer, crime stats suggest

Saint John has seen a significant drop in crime over the past five years, according to police statistics.

Significant drop in crimes over five years

Crime has decreased in every category in Saint John over the past five years, except for impaired driving and drug offences. (CBC)

Saint John has seen a significant drop in crime over the past five years, according to recently released police statistics.

Car thefts, robberies, and break and enters are all down more than 40 per cent, the figures show.

Sex offences and family violence have decreased 21 per cent, while assaults and theft are down 18 per cent.

In fact, the numbers are down in nearly every category, except impaired driving and drugs offences, the police department’s five-year trends show.

Mary Ann Campbell, director of the Centre for Criminal Justice Studies at the University of New Brunswick in Saint John, said the numbers are "impressive."

She said she credits better policing for the results.

"[The] Saint John Police Force has become very much focused on using evidence-based, intelligence-led methods of policing, which makes their efforts much more strategic," she said.

"And when you do intervene with those areas in a very strategic way, you can lead to very real reductions in crime."

Other factors contributing to the decline could include an aging population and improved access to methadone for addicts, said Campbell.

Still,  some Saint John residents find the statistics surprising.

Don Clark, a mechanic at the Millidgeville Service Centre in the city’s north end, said he has trouble believing there's been a dramatic drop in crime, based on what’s happening in the service centre’s parking lot.

People have been "stealing stuff out of cars, stealing stereos out of cars, stealing tires off of cars," he said.

Crime Five-year Trend
Arson- 61.1 per cent
Assault-18.2 per cent
Break and enter-50.4 per cent
Controlled Drugs and Substances Act+5.0 per cent
Family violence-21.7 per cent
Fraud-8.4 per cent
Impaired driving+9.0 per cent
Robbery-46.3 per cent
Sex offences-21.7 per cent
Theft-18.3 per cent

Theft motor vehicle

-45.4 per cent
Weapons offences-29.6 per cent