The Municipality of North Cowichan is the 41st most dangerous community in Canada, according to rankings released by Maclean’s magazine.
Using Stats Canada’s Crime Severity Index, the national news magazine compiled data on 229 Canadian cities with a population of 10,000 or more, and ranked them according to the commission rate of several different types of crime.
They include violent crime, homicide, sexual assault, firearms offences, robbery, break and enter, impaired driving, drug offences and fraud.
The data was gathered in 2016 and is a measure of all police-reported crime.
But members of the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP detachment take exception to some of the statistics for North Cowichan in the report.
As well, North Cowichan Mayor Jon Lefebure declined to comment on the report, stating that it doesn’t differentiate between statistics for North Cowichan and the rest of the area the Valley’s RCMP detachment serves.
According to the magazine, North Cowichan has a crime severity index, which is a Statistics Canada measure of all police-reported crime collected, of 105 as of 2016, while the national average is 70.96.
By comparison, the most “dangerous” city, North Battleford, Sask., has a CSI of 353, while the Kennebecasis Region of New Brunswick fared best with a CSI of 16.
The report indicated there were two homicides in North Cowichan, that has a population of 30,163, in 2016, which puts the municipality’s homicide rate at 6.63 per 100,000 people.
The Canadian average for homicides is just 1.68 per 100,000 people.
North Cowichan also had a reported 190 assaults last year, which is rated at 629.91 out of a population of 100,000, while the national average is 430.68.
There were 257 break and enters reported in North Cowichan in 2016, which is 852.04 out of 100,000, while the national average is 438.51.
But some of the statistics, including those for robberies and impaired driving, in North Cowichan are lower than the Canadian average.
There were 10 robberies reported in the municipality in 2016, which translates to 33.15 per 100,000 people, while the national average is 60.09.
There were 66 impaired driving charges in North Cowichan in 2016, which is 218.81 per 100,000, while the Canadian average was 194.31.
Sgt. Chris Swain, from the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP, pointed out that the CSI rankings are based on a 100,000-person population so for smaller communities like North Cowichan, even a small spike in crime by one prolific offender can dramatically affect the community’s overall CSI rankings.
“As the rankings are based on police reported crimes, proactive detachment initiatives can also affect our CSI scores,” Swain said.
“Initiatives such as impaired driving enforcement, or targeting specific problems areas in our community will raise community CSI rankings when we are successful in our efforts.”