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City’s violent crime rate rises

The City of Campbell River ranks 23rd in Canada for violent crimes.

In a quarterly report to city council Tuesday, RCMP inspector Lyle Gelinas presented the latest crime statistics, (from 2010), and while Campbell River ranked 55th out of 238 detachments for non-violent crime, and 42nd for overall crime, the city’s violent crimes are up compared to the rest of the country.

“Overall, across Canada crime is down, and our calls for service are down a couple hundred by the numbers, but we also deal with a fair number of violent crimes,” said Gelinas, adding that different types of violent crimes each have ratings, and the more severe, the more they bump up a city’s rank.

“We’ve had a number of homicides in the past – we’ve had three this quarter – so those are things that you look at.”

The data is collected from all 238 detachments across the country with populations over 10,000 so Campbell River is rated against large urban centres like Vancouver and Toronto. However, Gelinas said the statistics are adjusted to show a fair reading based on population.

“They’ve got Calgary in here at 1.138 million people and us at almost 38,000,” said Gelinas. “We’re not on the same playing scale, but it’s worked so that the rating is relative.”

He said Campbell River’s subculture is “active” which greatly contributes to the violent crime rating.

“We have a subculture that’s active, and in that subculture violent crimes are being committed,” said Gelinas. “When I talk about subculture I mean the persons who are, you know, they’re around at night, they’re dealing drugs, they’re doing break and enters, they’re trying to collect money for organized crime, all those kinds of things, that’s the subculture that I’m talking about, so if you’re not involved in that you won’t be affected by that.”

While the city’s rank is higher on the violent crime severity index now than the past few years, it is similar to the 2006 ranking. The ranking continually got better since 2006, reaching 72nd in 2009, before plummeting to 23rd for 2010. Gelinas said Campbell River RCMP will continue working hard to implement crime reduction strategies, including focusing on prolific offenders and crime hot spots. And he stressed that Campbell Riverites should not be too alarmed about the ranking.

“There’s no need for a panic button,” said Gelinas. “Just because of where that rating is doesn’t mean that we’re a bad community.

“The normal person in Campbell River that goes to and from work and has a normal lifestyle and is not involved in crime will never be affected by this stuff.”

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