Maclean’s Magazine has released its annual list of Canada’s most dangerous cities, and Prince Albert is listed at number four. The list reflects a compilation of the latest available Statistics Canada data from 2017, which was then released in July 2018.
Although better than last year’s ranking of third place, it’s still a long way off from a meaningful change. It’s also important to note that last year Maclean’s listed Prince Albert only, while the statistics this year show Prince Albert and area.
These rankings have long been criticized, especially in smaller cities, where minor changes in numbers can result in large statistical changes affecting the overall ranking of a city. Recently paNOW reported on special crime-reduction teams, which are now fully operational in Prince Albert and North Battleford and may impact next year’s statistics.
Both police and property owners will be looking at these new teams to make an impact in next year’s crime statistics. These units are designed to tackle rural crime, and ease strain off of local police. The units are deployed — often for days at a time — as requested by local RCMP detachments across the region to target gangs, chronic offenders and to execute warrants, among other activities.
“What’s specific to these teams is that they’re not attending to all the calls or the files at the detachment; they’re going in there to target specific people or activity,” RCMP Insp. Tammy Patterson told paNOW and battlefordsNOW. “They have the luxury, I would put it, to target those individuals and initiatives we want to target.”
The latest ranking saw Prince Albert have increases in the five-year change in crime index, the crime severity index, and the violent crime severity index, all of which heavily influence the placement of any given city.
The homicide rate compared to the previous year was largely unchanged, with two incidents in the last year compared to one.
The assault rate (incidents per 100,000 population) saw a decrease, falling from 1,198 to 938.
Firearms offences (incidents per 100,000 population) saw a notable rise, climbing to 45. There were 34 reported the previous year. Robberies were also among the crimes to see an increase, with the rate changing from 89 actual incidents previously, to 97 in the most recent year of data.
Breaking and entering charges were also up, with a reported 586 incidents compared to 727 in the newest data. Fraud charges were down from last year however, dropping from 241 to 229.
Drug offences saw several changes in the latest rankings. Impaired driving incidents were down, dropping from 179 to 163.
Cannabis trafficking or production charges saw a slight increase, although it will be interesting to see changes in 2020 statistics with cannabis being newly-legalized.
Cocaine trafficking or production saw a slight decrease, while other controlled drugs, trafficking or production charges saw a slight increase.
Saskatchewan now leads the country in youth crime rates, and Prince Albert itself saw increases in youth-related offences.
There were 110 incidents for youth criminal justice act offences, and 291 incidents (per 100,000 population), compared to 128 actual incidents in the previous year, although the rate of incidents per 100,000 population was up to 339 in the latest figures.
North Battleford retained the number one position of most dangerous city to live in, according to the Maclean's report, with Thompson, Manitoba also retaining the number two position. Wetaskiwin, Alberta replaced Prince Albert in the number three position.
Out of the top 10 most dangerous cities to live in, based off all crime statistics, two cities were located in Alberta, three from Saskatchewan, two from Manitoba, and four in British Columbia.
For more information on this year’s rankings you can visit Maclean’s website.
On Twitter: @TheDigitalBirdy
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