Violent and non-violent crime have both increased since 2018 in Campbell River. RCMP photo

Campbell River’s Crime Severity Index up since 2018

RCMP say changes to reporting system, size of community part of reason for increase

Campbell River has seen an increase in both non-violent and violent crime since 2018, according to this year’s Crime Severity Index published by Stats Canada.

The city ranked at number 38 overall, with a crime severity index of 148.19, which is higher than the national average of 79.45. The city is also higher than the national average for violent crime, at 127,95 compared to 89.67, and non-violent crime at 155.12 compared to the national average of 75.59. Both of these are increases since 2018, by 67 per cent and 77 per cent respectively.

However, the Campbell River RCMP said that “recent changes to how crime is ‘scored’… have had a significant effect on increases in the community.”

Examples are a change in classification of cases, which inflates the number of cases in the city. However that doesn’t account for all of the changes in the city’s score. Other factors in the increase are changes to the bail system, which now allows more people to be released until their trials.

Campbell River is a relatively small community when compared to places like Vancouver, Toronto and Calgary, and that can affect how crimes are scored. This is true for both violent and non-violent crimes.

“For instance if a community of 20,000 people never had any homicides, and then had one homicide, it would create a monstrous increase in the Crime Severity,” the RCMP report reads. “Then if there was no homicide the next year it would show a monstrous drop.”

Campbell River did have one homicide in 2019 and a number of other violent crimes that impacted the CSI score. The local detachment also had an increase in calls for service, roughly 1,500 more in 2019 than in 2018. Most of these calls were for things like missing persons and wellness checks, which means that “officers have significantly less patrol time and less opportunities to do proactive investigations that can reduce certain kinds of crimes.”

“In terms of non-violent offences a substantial drug project that generated many more incidents of… drug trafficking, and in a smaller community 10 more instances can mean a very substantial increase,” the RCMP release explained. “the drug project that took place in late 2019, did have a positive effect in the community, but strangely a negative effect on our crime severity. In order to conduct the investigation multiple extra files of trafficking were created, with extra drug files, came extra scores for trafficking.”

Going forward, the RCMP suggests that the community work to make the town less appealing to criminals, and RCMP have increased patrols to stop thefts from motor vehicles and break and enters.RCMP Const. Maury Tyre said that one way to reduce the CSI score next year is to change the social culture in the community, especially people saying they don’t want to get involved or they don’t want to “be a snitch.”

It’s a stigma we have to break, said Tyre said. People who come forward are doing so to prevent harm in the community, and they deserve our thanks and absolutely no one’s malice. You don’t want to be caught for doing something illegal, there’s a sure fire way….Don’t do anything illegal. It’s not the witnesses fault if you get punished, it’s your fault for doing the crime.

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