Police reported crime in St. Albert increased by 7.2 per cent in 2022 and more break-and-enters and theft from motor vehicles were big drivers in the increase. 

On July 27, Statistics Canada released the 2022 Crime Severity Index (CSI), which showed a national increase of four per cent in police-reported crime, but the city of St. Albert saw an increase in the CSI of 7.2 per cent.

The national total CSI index was 78.1 for 2022, up from 74.9 in 2021.

“The consecutive increases recorded in the overall CSI may indicate a return to the upward trend in crime observed before the start of the pandemic.

“The first year of the pandemic was marked by a decline in the overall volume and severity of police-reported crime, notably while lockdown restrictions were first implemented,” the report stated.

The CSI index was lower than the national number in St. Albert at 56.9, but that increased from 53.1 in 2021, said Insp. Ryan Comaniuk, detachment commander for the St. Albert RCMP.

“The largest driver to this increase was due to break-and-enter offences, which caused a CSI increase of 2.1 points,” said Comaniuk in an email.

In 2022, the St. Albert RCMP received 215 break-and-enter complaints, an increase of 37 from the previous year.

“I also note fairly significant increases in relation to theft from motor vehicle and mischief to property, which were also primary drivers to the 7.2 per cent increase,” he said.

According to the Statistics Canada report, the national non-violent CSI increased by four per cent, and much of the increase was due to property crimes.

“Notably motor vehicle theft (+24 per cent), breaking and entering (+4 per cent), minor theft ($5,000 or under; +10 per cent), shoplifting ($5,000 or under; +31 per cent) and general fraud (+7 per cent),” the national report read.

Non-violent crimes such as drug offences, saw a decrease of 17 per cent in 2022. Identity fraud, identity theft, impaired driving, and administration of justice were all down from 2021 numbers, the report said.

Nationally, violent crimes saw an increase of four per cent in 2022. With robbery (+15 per cent), extortion (+39 per cent), homicide (+8 per cent) and level 1 sexual assault (+3 per cent) seeing increases in reporting for 2022.

When it comes to the province as a whole, according to data from Statistics Canada, the CSI for Alberta was 103.21 for 2022. A slight increase of 1.92 per cent from the CSI of 101.27 reported in 2021.

Violent crime in Alberta was down for 2022. The Violent Crime Severity index for the province fell 3.21 per cent from 114.09 in 2021 to  110.43 in 2022.

Non-violent crime in Alberta increased 4.32 per cent in 2022 from 97 in 2021 to 101.19 in 2022.

Comaniuk said St. Albert had a relatively low value compared to other “like size” communities in the province.

Red Deer had a CSI value of 163, and Grande Prairie had a CSI value of 157.3.

“For sake of comparison, Sherwood Park (55.4), Airdrie (46.6) and Cochrane (44.4) all had lower CSI values in 2022 than St. Albert at (56.9),” he said.

The national report stated that CSI values are returning to pre-pandemic crime levels, and Comaniuk said the City of St. Albert is no exception. The CSI for 2019 was 60.2.

Comaniuk said crime prevention is vital, and the RCMP in St. Albert dedicate a “good portion” of their energy in that area.

“From a local RCMP perspective, I would say our best ally in maintaining a relatively low CSI value here in the city of St. Albert is crime prevention through proactive policing services, programs and activities,” he said.

By Jessica Nelson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Aug 09, 2023

This item reprinted with permission from   St. Albert Gazette   St. Albert, Alberta

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