Golden and the surrounding area’s crime rate is continuing its decrease over the last five years, according to data published by Stats Canada on Thursday, Oct. 29.
The Golden/Field RCMP detachment had 514 incidents in 2019, a 13.92 per cent decrease from the year before. Of those incidents, 126 were deemed unfounded reports.
In total, 221 were cleared of charges and a further 164 were charged. In 2018, 172 people were charged.
The rate of incidents per 100,000 people in the area is 6,861.57. The national average is 5,874.
The decrease is the largest drop seen for the detachment in five years.
Despite the drop, Betty Watson of the Golden/Field detachment says that they’re just as busy as ever.
“It doesn’t mean that there’s a decrease in the number of calls to service,” explained Watson.
“These stats only show the calls that are reported to Stats Canada, we respond to quite a few calls that are not necessarily criminal code calls that don’t end up getting reported.
“For example, we’re right along the Trans-Canada highway, we get a high volume of calls for erratic drivers and highway incidents.”
Watson says that those calls can be time consuming when officers need to travel to Field, Parson or out to Glacier National Park.
The overall stats show that overall, criminal code violations have been on the decline since 2015 in Golden, the last year Stats Canada reported a rise in incidents in Golden. In 2015, there were 10,644.61 incidents per 100,000 people.
In total, 164 people were charged in 2019 according to the data, 153 of which were adults.
Watson says that the area might be seeing a decrease in charges being laid, particularly with youth, due to renewed emphasis with the community-led restorative justice program, that brings victims and the accused together to negotiate justice.
“I would anticipate we should realistically see a decrease, particularly with youth, due to the program,” said Watson.
“It allows for people to deal with the incidents in real time, typically it can be addressees within the first 30 days, as opposed to the court process. It gives the opportunity for the victims to have a voice and hold the accused accountable for their actions and reconcile peace.”
Of the incidents reported, 104 were classified as violent crimes, a 9.32 per cent increase from the year before, which saw under 100 violent incidents in 2018, the only year since 2015 which was below that marker.
Police-reported crime across Canada, as measured by the Crime Severity Index (CSI), increased 5 per cent in 2019.
Statistics Canada stated the increase in police-reported crime in B.C. may be partially due to new reporting standards for classifying incidents across the province.