Despite a new list released this week by Maclean’s magazine placing the city of Courtenay as the seventh most dangerous place in Canada in 2019 (and top in the province), Courtenay’s mayor says the city remains a safe place.
The list – which was released on Nov. 5 – looks at whether crime is getting better or worse in a community and how quickly. The report looked at 237 urban centres across the country, and calculated the difference between their most recent crime severity indexes (CSI), and their crime severity indexes five years ago.
Mayor Bob Wells said while the list does bring attention to procedures and policies the City has in place, he takes issue with some of the metrics presented in the list.
“A large number of infractions are cannabis-related. You have to look at how the landscape is going to change past Oct. 17,” he noted. “These lists are sometimes open to interpretation. Being one of the smallest communities on the list, one homicide has a huge impact; the metrics are per 100,000 (population) which skews things.”
CSIs are a measure used by Statistics Canada that accounts for the seriousness of crimes as well as their number. The agency set the national CSI at a baseline of 100 in 2006. A CSI smaller than 100 means there were fewer and/or less severe crimes than those committed that year. A CSI greater than 100 means there were more and/or more severe crimes than those committed across the country in 2006.
Maclean’s said the 2017 data is the most current available and was released July 23, 2018.
Taking the top spot on the list is Wetaskiwin, AB with a CSI of 258. Courtenay finished with a CSI of 119, up from its 2012 CSI of 80.25.
For comparison, the average CSI in Canada is 70.96.
Looking at the numbers, the city’s population is 25,525 and had one listed homicide. While the Canadian homicide rate (incidents per 100,000 population) average is 1.68, Courtenay’s is listed as 3.92.
There were 142 listed assault incidents, 12 sexual assault incidents, and thee firearms offences.
The report also took into account theft and property crime, drug offences and youth crime.
Of note, there were 97 impaired driving incidents, equalling a rate of 380.02 (incidents per 100,000 people); the Canadian average is 194.31.
Both cannabis trafficking or production, and cocaine trafficking or production rates were also higher than the Canadian average.
Wells noted he has already begun a dialogue with Comox Valley RCMP Insp. Mike Kurvers and added overall, people in the Comox Valley and Courtenay feel it is a safe place to live.
Penticton, the next B.C. city to make the list, was ranked 19 out of 237 municipalities.
Comox was ranked 52nd.
At the other end of the scale, Temiskaming Shores, Ont. came in at the bottom of the list, 237th.