Crime in the prairie provinces has risen since the crime severity index (CSI) was established in 2006, even though Canada as a whole has seen a significant reduction in crime during the same period.
The CSI was developed to address the limitation of the police-reported crime rate that is largely driven by high-volume but less serious offences. The CSI takes into account the relative seriousness of crime, as well as crime volume.
The CSI was set at 100 in 2006 and a 2017 Statistics Canada report puts the measure at 71 for the country.
However, in Saskatchewan, the CSI has increased, including a nine percent jump from 2015 to 2016 and now sits at 149, the highest in the country.
The change in CSI in Saskatchewan in the latest report was driven primarily by an increase in police-reported incidents of fraud, breaking and entering and homicide.
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Saskatchewan also has the highest crime rate in the country with 11,746 incidents per 100,000 population.
Manitoba’s CSI rose eight percent from 2015 to 2016 to 114 due to an increase in breaking and entering and robberies.
Alberta’s CSI dropped in the same time period by one percent due to decreases in robbery, homicide and mischief, but the province’s CSI still sits at 102, well above the national average of 71.
After decreasing steadily since 2008, the national rate of major assault increased for the second consecutive year, according to the 2017 report.
Manitoba’s rate of major assault was 380 per 100,000 while Saskatchewan’s rate was 370 per 100,000, the highest rates among the provinces.
The police-reported robbery rate was lower in 2016, with a three percent drop across the country to 60 robberies per 100,000 population.
However, Manitoba’s robbery rate increased 21 percent to 156 per 100,000 population.
Manitoba has consistently recorded the highest rate of police-reported robbery since 1998, the earliest year for which comparable data is available.
Saskatchewan’s robbery rate was 86 per 100,000 population, the second highest rate among the provinces in 2016.