When it comes to Macleans magazine’s annual Most Dangerous Cities list, things are looking up for Kelowna.
Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for its closest neighbour.
West Kelowna is ranked 69 of 237 cities for being dangerous. Compare that to Kelowna, which ranked 148 — a significant improvement from last year, where the rating was 34.
WEST KELOWNA, population 34,504
While the ranking may make West Kelowna’s crime issues sound particularly bad, a deeper dive into the numbers is less discouraging.
First, on the Crime Severity Index — a Statistics Canada measure of all police-reported crime, which takes into consideration both the volume and seriousness of offences — West Kelowna scored 67, which falls below the national average of 70.96. When ranked by that metric, it fell down the list to 111 of 237 cities.
In the Violent Crime Severity Index, West Kelowna conditions looked even less grim. With a score of 48, it became ranked 148/237.
One murder was recorded on the Westside, which because of population raised its score to 2.9 points — above the national average of 1.68.
There were 115 assaults, 12 sexual assaults, and three firearms incidents. The former two are below national averages and the firearms are above.
In the area of drug offences, there were 37 impaired driving incidents, and five cannabis trafficking incidents.
KELOWNA population 132,084
For all the headlines about how crime-plagued Kelowna has become in recent years, it came out well when Macleans did the math. Its overall ranking was 142 out of 237, on the Most Dangerous Cities list and it’s seen a 7.01 point drop in crime rate over the last five years.
On the Crime Severity Index, the city was ranked 39 of 237 and has a score of 112.
For the Violent Crime Severity Index Kelowna ranked 95 of 237, and had a score of 71 — below the national average of 75.25.
“It is encouraging to see Kelowna’s ranking trending downward according to MacLeans Magazine. The City of Kelowna and Kelowna RCMP will continue to work together to take a proactive and analytical approach to crime prevention and targeting high risk and repeat offenders,” said Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey, in an email.
“For a local perspective and the most recent crime statistics, I would encourage you to attend Supt. Mundle’s next quarterly report to Kelowna city council in early December 2018.”
Until then, the Macleans numbers show that there is more violent, property and drug crime in Kelowna, but the statistics are softened by the ratio of incidents to population.
For example, there were five homicides in Kelowna, amounting to a rate of 3.79 per 100,000— a score higher than the national average.
There were 561 assaults, 49 sexual assaults, and six firearms offences.
In the category of theft and property crime, there were 51 robberies, which is a rate of 38.61 for every 100,000 of population and below the national average of 60.09.
There were 754 break and enters and 783 cases of fraud.
In the area of drug offences, there were 443 cases of impaired driving, which amounted to a rate of 335.39 per 100,000 population. That is well above the national average of 194.31 per 100,000.
There were also 132 other cases of other controlled drugs, trafficking or production.
POPULATION AND RANKINGS
Kelowna wasn’t the only city to see the sunset on its dubious past.
Vernon fell to No. 24 in the all crime category with a crime severity index (CSI) from No. 9 and a CSI of 157 last year.
The rapid swing is due to the fact that Vernon is a smaller city, and population size is a factor when determining rankings, Const. Kelly Brett with the local RCMP said of last year’s statistics. A single crime – either violent or non-violent – can have a more significant impact on crime severity rankings than it would in larger centres.
“Once again, due to Vernon’s relatively small population size, even one prolific offender can significantly impact the non-violent crime rating,” said Brett.