A survey finds that five of the eight safest places in British Columbia lie in the Greater Victoria area.
MacLean’s annual Dangerous Places survey identifies North Saanich as the safest community in British Columbia as measured by Crime Severity Index (CSI), a measure that Statistics Canada uses to account for both the number and seriousness of crimes.
By this measure, North Saanich’s CSI clocks in at 27. 84. Canada’s overall CSI by comparison is 72.9 out of 100. This means crime severity is down 27.1 basis points since 2006, when Statistics Canada set its benchmark. This said, Canada’s CSI actually ticked up compared to 2016 when it stood at 71.7 out of 100, as the CSI increased for the third consecutive year in 2017.
Colwood is the second-safest community in British Columbia, with a CSI of 33.88, followed by Comox (35.03) and Coldstream (36.83). Saanich rounds out the Top 5 in British Columbia with a CSI of 37.36 — down from 40 in 2017. Sidney has a CSI of 37.5 in sixth place, followed by Oak Bay with a CSI of 38.09. North Vancouver rounds out the the Top 8 with a CSI of 39.82.
Looking at the larger region, the Victoria Census Metropolitan Area has a CSI of 62.4. Looking elsewhere on Vancouver Island, Nanaimo recorded a CSI of 102.69 in 2017 — down from 112.04 in 2016 and trending down over the last five years.
Courtenay, meanwhile, cracked the Top 10 unsafest places in Canada, with a CSI of 119 to finish in seventh place. Penticton cracked the Top 20 with a CSI of 145.
British Columbia as a whole witnessed its CSI drop five per cent. Saskatchewan (down six per cent), Prince Edward Island (down seven per cent) and Newfoundland and Labrador (down nine per cent) also recorded declines in CSI, with all provinces recording increases. Nova Scotia recorded the highest increase with six per cent, followed by Ontario and Alberta with five per cent each.
Looking at the types of crimes, the overall volume and severity of violent crime rose in 2017. According to Statistics Canada, more than half of the increase was the result of increases in the rates of police-reported cases of sexual assault, homicide, and robbery. The overall volume and severity of non-violent crime remained unchanged. While thefts of motor vehicles and other possessions rose, the number of cases of breaking and entering actually dropped.