The crime rate dropped nearly two per cent last year in the municipal district of Kent, and grew by 3.4 per cent in rural Agassiz during the same period, according to the latest figures released by Statistics Canada.
Kent’s 1.84 per cent decrease comes after two years of increases (1.78 in 2014 and 6.41 per cent in 2015) while a much more varying history shows that rural Agassiz fell 15 per cent in 2014 but climbed by just over 20 per cent the following year—so 2016 represents a significant slow to that increase.
The annual numbers, released Monday, report the crime severity index (CSI) and the crime rate for communities across Canada for 2016.
Kent recorded 7,640 offences per 100,000 people in 2016 while rural Agassiz saw 15,754, compared to the national average of 5,905 and the provincial average of 8,675. As a community comparison: Abbotsford averaged 6,722 total violations per 100,000 people, Chilliwack had 13,148 (17,366 rural) and Surrey was at 10,095.
The municipal area’s CSI—a figure calculated based on the number of crimes reported and the severity of each offence—was up 15 per cent from 2015. At 83.19, it is higher than the national average of 71 but lower than the provincial average of 93.6.
Rural Agassiz on the other hand, was well above both Canada and B.C. at 209.77, a seven per cent decrease from 2015 (just above the ten-year average of 199.62)
Kent saw an increase in both its violent and non-violent CSI statistics, of 12.89 and 16.6 per cent respectively.
There’s better news in Agassiz with a nearly 27 per cent drop in its violent CSI and a 9.71 per cent increase in the non-violent category—though both those numbers are still at least double the provincial average.
Previous statistics and maps released by the Agassiz RCMP in 2016 showed property crime in Popkum, theft from vehicles in Agassiz and auto theft in Harrison Hot Springs were the pressing issues in those respective communities.
At the time, police reminded residents to keep their eyes and ears open and to call police if they see something suspicious.
Also, simple prevention strategies can keep most crime from happening, police said. Locking car and house doors and keeping valuables out of sight are efforts that go a long way to stop property crime.