Kelowna's crime rate surges to the highest in Canada

Canada's highest crime rate

Statistics Canada has released its annual report on crime and things are not looking good in the Central Okanagan.

Metro Kelowna, which includes all communities from Lake Country to Peachland, reported a crime rate per 100,000 last year of 11,112.

That is by far the worst crime rate of any of the 35 census metropolitan areas (CMA) in Canada, and an increase of 10 per cent from 2020. Nationally, the crime rate per 100,000 rose just one per cent to 5,375 in 2021.

Behind Kelowna, Lethbridge (9,836) and Moncton (9,168) round out the top three most crime-ridden CMAs in the country.

Kelowna recorded the second-highest violent crime rate per 100,000 residents in Canada at 1,980 — up 11 per cent in a year — second only to Thunder Bay at 2,134. The national violent crime rate fell seven per cent last year to 1,323 per 100,000.

The police-reported crime rate measures only the volume of crime and does not take into account the seriousness of each file. The Crime Severity Index measures the overall seriousness of crime by assigning greater weight to significant offences.

Kelowna has the second-highest Crime Severity Index in the country at 122.3, a seven per cent increase from the previous year. Kelowna trails only Lethbridge, which reported a CSI of 128.7. Canada’s national CSI was calculated at 73.7.

Kelowna’s violent crime severity index, which sets aside property crime, places the region at seventh-worst behind cities like Thunder Bay, Winnipeg, Sudbury and Saskatoon.

The region saw large increases in the rates of motor vehicle theft (+21 per cent), shoplifting (+32 per cent) and uttering threats (+14 per cent).

StatsCanada says Kelowna’s increase in the Crime Severity Index is also attributable to increases in child pornography, mischief and fraud. There were, however, decreases in trafficking, production, importation or exportation of methamphetamine and identity fraud.

Kelowna also has the second highest rate of opioid-related offences in Canada (116 per 100,000 population), trailing only Lethbridge (124) and well above Vancouver (45).

Kelowna’s crime wave bucks the provincial trend, with provincial statistics for the Crime Severity Index (92.9) and crime rate (7,486) falling last year by five and four per cent, respectively.

Castanet has requested comment from the Kelowna RCMP.

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