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Edmonton crime severity down from 2019 spike, but higher than national average – Edmonton |

The severity of crime in Edmonton rose slightly in 2022, with the crime severity index (CSI) not quite reaching the level recorded before the pandemic, but still higher than the rest of the country.

That’s according to the data released Thursday by Statistics Canada. The government agency compiled data reported by police from cities across the country to compare both the rate and severity of crime.

The CSI is a measurement of police-reported crime that takes into account both the volume and severity of crime.

The CSI across the country fell starting in 2020, Statistics Canada said.

“The first year of the pandemic was marked by a decline in the overall volume and severity of police-reported crime, notably while lockdown restrictions were first implemented, driven by less non-violent crime,” said Statistics Canada.

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Click to play video: 'EPS examines violent crime increases'

EPS examines violent crime increases

In 2022, the CSI across the country rose by four per cent, and it rose by three per cent in Edmonton. However, the CSI in Edmonton — 100.4 — is higher than the national average of 78.1.

Criminologist Dan Jones said a higher CSI means the reported crimes are more serious, like aggravated assault and assault causing bodily harm.

“You could have a reduction in calls for service, you could have a reduction in crime, but you could have an increase in crime severity which means the crimes that are happening are more egregious and are hurting people more,” said Jones.

Other major cities saw big increases in CSI last year — Winnipeg was at nearly 20 per cent, Toronto at 14 per cent and Vancouver at six per cent.

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Undoubtedly, there is a perception that Edmonton is an unsafe city — weeks ago, Edmonton police put out a warning to Edmontonians to avoid downtown and transit and not speak to strangers because doing so could get you murdered.

“I think we have to be careful not to make our city afraid,” said Jones.

“When you look at our slight increase in crime severity in 2022, it shows that Edmonton is a relatively safe city, probably a very safe city, with the odd unfortunate violent offences occurring.”

Click to play video: 'Edmonton mayor demands immediate bail reform amid rising violent crimes'

Edmonton mayor demands immediate bail reform amid rising violent crimes

Violent crime severity fell in Edmonton in 2022, according to Statistics Canada, meaning less violent crimes like assaults were committed. The violent CSI fell 2.4 per cent to 109.7.

“We’ve seen a lot of news around violent crime in Edmonton,” Jones said, adding he wonders if the recent trend of reported violent crime is a “blip” or if 2023 numbers will be significantly higher when they’re released in a year’s time.

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“It’ll be an interesting finding because we might not see the increase that we think we’re going to see, it might just be how things are being reported.”

Jones said a true measure of a community getting safer is the CSI trending downwards in tandem with the number of arrests.

“If you have that, you actually have crime going down, you’re not going to have that weeble-wobble effect,” he said.

Click to play video: 'Edmonton police charge 2 people in connection with violent crime spree that ended in Devon'

Edmonton police charge 2 people in connection with violent crime spree that ended in Devon

Jones said looking at the causes behind the crime is key to reducing crime severity.

“Is there issues with drugs, is there issues with employment and poverty?” he said.

“The social determinants of crime and health are almost identical so let’s start looking at those things to help reduce the crime severity.”

&copy 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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