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Updated: Langley City has highest crime severity ranking in Metro

An undercover Langley RCMP officer was a victim of crime herself in an incident in Langley City several years ago. She was attacked by a man with pepper spray. - Langley Times file photo
An undercover Langley RCMP officer was a victim of crime herself in an incident in Langley City several years ago. She was attacked by a man with pepper spray.
— image credit: Langley Times file photo

Langley City has the worst crime severity ranking of any Lower Mainland community.

That is according to the police-reported 2013 Crime Severity Index (CSI) released by Statistics Canada on Wednesday, July 23.

Based on the rankings for all Canadian communities with populations of 10,000 or more, as provided by the federal statistics agency, Langley City had the highest crime severity index in Metro Vancouver last year.

The city was the third highest in B.C. and the eighth highest in all of Canada with an index number of 168.51, higher than the B.C. average of 89.18 and more than double the Canadian average of 68.72.

Acting Mayor Ted Schaffer said the city has taken a number of steps to reduce crime that he predicted will result in a "much, much better" crime severity index next year.

Those steps include funding for two additional RCMP officers assigned to the downtown core of the city; changing shifts so a city bylaw enforcement officer works weekends and hiring a security guard to accompany the bylaw enforcement officer.

Schaffer said the increased police presence gives the city the equivalent of 52 officers, which he said was the highest police-to-population ratio in the Lower Mainland at one officer for every 502 people, compared to neighbouring Surrey, which has a ratio of one officer for every 763 people.

About $10 million of the $22 million City budget goes to law enforcement, Schaffer said.

"The city recognizes that we've got issues," Schaffer told The Times.

He said city crime stats show a  "significant" 17 to 19 per cent drop in criminal activity.

"At least it's going in the right direction." Schaffer said.

An RCMP spokesperson said  property crime, specifically theft from auto as well as mail theft, were the most common offences with multiple offenders committing these crimes in Langley city.

There was also a high number of fraud complaints resulting from the auto and mail theft.

"The high density of population, homes and resources in [Langley city] make it an attractive location for offenders to commit these types of crimes," said Sgt. Rob Vermeulen.

Vermeulen said another big factor affecting Langley city’s CSI rating is that theft from underground storage areas are classified as Break and Enter  and coded as violent crimes which causes the City’s rating to increase. "Langley City had a couple of prolific offenders who targeted storage areas, which contributed to the CSI rating," Vermeulen said.

"That issue has been resolved with assistance from storage locker owners who have worked with police in theft prevention."

However, mail theft continues to be an issue, Vermeulen said.

Within Metro Vancouver, Langley City was followed by number two-ranked Surrey at 114.32, number three-ranked New Westminster at 105.97 and number four, Vancouver, at 105.18 (If non-municipal rural areas are counted, the University of B.C. endowment lands would be second, with a slightly higher rate than Surrey).

The Township of Langley, with a crime severity index of 87.6, was number five in Metro.

The Township ranked number 28 in B.C. and was 63rd in Canada.

The crime severity rate in the city was down from the previous year, dropping 13.38 per cent in 2013, that coming after an increase of 8.28 per cent in 2012.

The Township crime severity rate dropped 15.09 per cent, after an increase of 5.58 per cent in 2012.

The average CSI for B.C. dropped 6.15 per cent, while the Canadian rate fell 8.9 per cent.

The Canadian city with the highest crime severity index was North Battleford, Saskatchewan at 323.88, while Williams Lake had the highest number in B.C. at 216.43.

To calculate the severity index, Statistics Canada analysts give each type of crime a weight based on the average sentence handed down by criminal courts for the offence.

The more serious the sentence, the higher the weight.

The data comes from the Uniform Crime Reporting Survey, a census of all crime known to, and substantiated by, police services.

10 Canadian cities with highest CSI over 10,000 population:

1. North Battleford, Sask.

2. Thompson, Man.

3. Yellowknife, N.W.T.

4. Williams Lake, B.C.

5. Prince Albert, Sask.

6. Quesnel, B.C.

7. Portage la Prarie, Man.

8. Langley City, B.C.

9. Red Deer, Alta.

10. Terrace, B.C.

 

10 B.C. cities with highest CSI over 10,000 population:

1. Williams Lake

2. Quesnel

3. Langley City

4. Terrace

5. Prince Rupert

6. Dawson Creek

7. Prince George

8. Fort St. John

9. Port Alberni

10. Vernon

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