Saskatchewan

Regina drops to No. 2 on city crime ratings: StatsCan

After many years, Regina no longer leads the country on Statistics Canada's crime severity index.

Saskatoon now leads 33 communities on crime severity index

Regina police were at the scene of a homicide in October 2013. The crime rate is on the decline, Statistics Canada says. (Jordan Jackle/CBC)

After many years, Regina no longer leads the country on Statistics Canada's crime severity index.

Instead, Saskatoon is now No. 1 and the Queen City falls to the second spot of 33 communities.

The crime severity index is a per-capita rating where more serious crimes are given more weight.  It's a comparison to the Canada-wide rate for 1996, which was set at 100.

Before 2014, Regina has had the highest index of all communities — for 16 years in a row.

Last year, Regina scored 102.8 and Saskatoon had 109.7. The Saskatchewan cities were the only ones with an index over 100.

Mayor Michael Fougere said it's important to note that the overall crime rate is dramatically lower today compared to a decade ago.

Between 2004 and 2014, Regina's crime rate dropped by 47 per cent, according to statistics from the Regina Police Service. 

"Crime does happen. There's no denying that. But I would say in general terms people feel safe in our community and the stats show that," he said. "Year over year, our crime has dropped to the lowest point in 24 years."

Regina's police chief, Troy Hagen, also noted the city's improvements in the statistics.

"We have tremendous momentum here," Hagen said. "We have greater momentum than anywhere else in the country."

Hagen added the statistics show there is a significant challenge for police.

"We do have a lot of work in front of us," he said. "We're not raising the victory flag."

Saskatoon's police chief, Clive Weighill, said many cities are facing similar crime issues.

"Right across the Prairie provinces we're facing a problem with a huge marginalized population that's living in poverty, poor housing, suffering from racism, vulnerability, missing murdered aboriginal women," Weighill said. "This is a situation we have to reflect on, what we want to do as a society and how we're going to fix this issue."

The StatsCan report also showed that Saskatchewan had the highest crime severity index of all provinces, although the rate fell from 2013 to 2014.

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