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Kelowna's crime rate the highest of all Canadian metropolitan areas

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A federal report on crime rates across the country ranks Kelowna as worst in Canada when it comes to crime rate.

Metro Kelowna is listed in the Statistics Canada Crime Severity Index as having a rate of 11,112 per 100,000 residents.

It's the highest rate in the country, and the only rate reaching into five digits. In second, looking at that metric, is the Lethbridge, Alta., area at 9,836 per 100,000.

Third is Moncton, N.B., at 9,168. 

By comparison the rates for Metro Vancouver, Victoria and Abbotsford-Mission are 5,898, 5,863 and 5,801, respectively.

The rate in the census metropolitan area of Kelowna is up 10 per cent year over year.

According to the data from StatCan, there were 27,147 Criminal Code violations in the region in 2021, resulting in charges against 2,338 people. Of the total offences, about 8,260 cases were cleared, whether through charges or otherwise.

StatCan puts the crime severity index (CSI), which is 73.7 across Canada, at 122.3 in Kelowna. The area, which includes the city as well as West Kelowna, Lake Country, Peachland and other census subdivisions, is not first in this category but second, after Lethbridge.

The CSI is not based on violent crime alone, but on all police-reported offences under the Criminal Code, meaning some traffic offences, for example, would also count toward the number. But the crime rate, where Kelowna ranks highest, is based on Criminal Code incidents excluding traffic violations.

Filtering to violent crime only, Kelowna sits in seventh. Major issues in the city, based on this data, are opioid-related offences, child pornography, shoplifting, mischief and fraud. Where it did better than in previous years is in crimes including trafficking, production and importation of methamphetamine, and identity fraud. 

The annual CSI is compared to a baseline set at 100 in 2006 in Canada.

The CSI for Canada this year is down 0.3 per cent from last year, something StatCan in part attributes to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

British Columbia as a province saw one of the largest downward impacts in the country, at five per cent. Behind this decrease were fewer reports of breaking and entering, theft under $5,000 and general fraud, but sexual assault was up in B.C., StatCan said

The data reported Tuesday, collected in 2021, suggested an overall decrease in police-reported crime in Canada. But the decrease was driven by dips in non-violent crime.

Police-reported violence was actually up last year in the country to a level higher than what it was before the pandemic began.

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