‘An extremely excessive determine’: Victoria police say new crime stats present assets stretched

The Metropolis of Victoria has seen a notable uptick in crime over the past 12 months, in accordance with information launched by Statistics Canada.

The crime severity index (CSI), which measures the amount and severity of police-reported crime, confirmed Victoria properly forward of any metropolis policed by a municipal division, together with Vancouver.

Victoria scored a 168, in comparison with Vancouver’s 105 and the B.C. common of 96.

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“It’s an extremely excessive determine,” Victoria police spokesperson Const. Cam MacIntyre stated.

“Once we have a look at this determine for an especially excessive severity of crime, we actually take into consideration the pressure and skill of our officers to contribute to group security.”

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Whereas Victoria’s CSI was excessive, a number of small communities got here in a lot increased. Hope got here in at 226, Prince George at 223 and Tofino at 196.

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2020 was the primary 12 months Statistics Canada separated Victoria from Esquimalt — each communities are policed by VicPD — in calculating the CSI.

The latter group’s rating, at 39, spoke to the challenges police in Victoria’s downtown are going through, MacIntyre stated.

“Once we have a look at homelessness, I can let you know the problems round multi-unit momentary housing services, sheltering in parks in addition to shelters normally, for the six months that we tracked it, these have been properly over 50 per cent of our precedence one and precedence two calls,” he stated.

“Once we’re speaking about crime severity we’re speaking about precedence one and precedence two calls.”

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The intersection of homelessness and policing has been a flashpoint in Victoria lately.

There have been a number of high-profile assaults and deaths in among the metropolis’s homeless encampments, and for a time town was funding further law enforcement officials to patrol the websites with its bylaw officers, citing security issues.

Grant Mackenzie, spokesperson for Victoria social service non-profit Our Place, stated the crime statistics could not inform the entire story.

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“It isn’t damaged all the way down to what they imply by violent incidents. Is any individual pushing somebody rated the identical approach as somebody capturing any individual?” he requested.

The truth that the police are being known as ceaselessly additionally doesn’t essentially imply there was extra crime, he argued.

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“There are lots of situations the place it’s important to name 911 as a result of there is no such thing as a various. And I feel that may skew the statistics as properly,” Mackenzie stated.

“Numerous time, working with the homeless, we name 911 as a result of we’re not outfitted to take care of individuals having a disaster.”

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Mackenzie is amongst these advocating for alternate options to the usage of police in psychological well being or drug-related incidents.

Victoria metropolis council voted final 12 months to discover such an initiative, citing a program in Eugene, Oregon, that deploys disaster intervention companies by the normal 911 dispatch centre.

Victoria police, who’ve been pushing town for extra officers for years, nonetheless, argue the stats present the necessity for extra assets on the bottom.

MacIntyre stated the division can also be supportive of amalgamating police companies throughout the capital regional district, to raised distribute the useful resource pressures confronted by police within the metropolis core.

Whereas Victoria’s CSI determine was 168, the index for the whole Victoria census metropolitan space was simply 75.8.

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