Since 2019, Lethbridge has had the highest rate of severe crime of any Canadian city but 2022 numbers released by Statistics Canada tell a new tale.
The city dropped from first to third on Statistics Canada’s annual Crime Severity Index report, or CSI.
It calculates the volume and seriousness of crimes in a community.
The decline includes an eight per cent decrease in crime severity and a five per cent drop in crime rate in 2022.
“As the crime and CSI is increasing across the country and in the province, we are showing a downward trend in both those categories, which is significant,” said Lethbridge Police Service Chief Shahin Mehdizadeh.
In 2021, the city sat at a CSI of 129.5, compared to 2022’s 119.
Comparatively, the national CSI is up four per cent while Alberta’s rose by two per cent.
Police and the city say the drop in numbers is due to a lot of effort and hard work on both sides.
Over the past four years, Lethbridge’s CSI has dropped by almost 16 per cent.
“We still have a lot of work to do, but I’m very proud to call this community my home as we are moving toward a good direction,” Mehdizadeh told media on Thursday.
“There’s so much more we can do but we will continue to do what we can, advocate for the resources we need, stay in touch with our police commission and chief to make sure that the resources that they need are available,” added Lethbridge Mayor Blaine Hyggen.
The report only looks at cities with a municipal police force.
That leaves out some large communities such as Red Deer and Grand Prairie, which are policed by the RCMP.
“When you include 10,000 plus, we are ranked number 36,” Mehdizadeh said.
“So we just go way down because there are a lot of communities that could be 1,000 people, less than 10,000, but they are not factored in this group.”
The city did see a slight rise in the number of violent crimes, increasing by 1.4 per cent.
The majority of crimes in the city are opportunity-driven but even those have begun going down.
Police note residents’ continued efforts.
“I just want to thank our citizens for all of the work they’re doing,” said Mehdizadeh.
Mehdizadeh says the plan is to add at least 10 new officers to the force within the next year and the hope is the increased presence will help drive down the CSI even further for 2023.
To view the Statistics Canada Crime Severity Index report, you can visit their website.
Source : CALGARY NEWS