Regina reports second highest crime rate across Canada in 2018

2018 was a challenging year for crime in the city of Regina following the release of police-reported crime statistics.

Results from the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics report demonstrate a rise in the city’s total crime rate and a number of other statistical categories when comparing last year’s number to 2017.

The report stacks up numbers from Canada’s 35 Census Metropolitan Areas to show the number of crimes from each category, the percentage change from 2017 to 2018 and 2008 to 2018, and where the city ranks in the country.

Out of 13 categories, Regina sits in the top three for nine of them with 9,521 crimes being reported to police last year.

The Queen City ranked first for motor vehicle theft rate (667 incidents in 2018) and breaking and entering rate (876 incidents in 2018). Motor vehicle thefts saw a 51 per cent jump while break and enters rose 23 per cent when compared to 2017’s figures.

Other areas that saw increases in 2018 were robberies (26 per cent), property crimes (12 per cent) and the sexual assaults (8 per cent).

Mayor Michael Fougere believes Regina is still a safe city despite the rise in crime.

“We have a police service that works hard every day to look at the tendencies of crime, but also responding to criminal activity,” said the mayor. “When you have guns, gangs and drugs on the street, it’s a challenge and that’s reflected not only in Regina but across the country as well.”

Drug offences was the only category that saw a drop between 2017-2018 at minus 29 per cent for the provincial capital. Regina ranked 24th on the list with 138 offences in 2018.

While drugs like fentanyl have been in the news frequently over the past couple years, crystal meth has shown a spike in the city in the last few years.

Police Chief Evan Bray described the surge as something “they’ve never seen before” for the synthetic drug in Regina and even in Western Canada.

He said there’s no question that crystal meth is driving a lot of crime in the community.

“Each drug brings different challenges with it. However meth is causing people to act irrationally, be paranoid, commit criminal offences and we’re seeing that when our theft of auto rate is high,” explained Bray.

On the subject of vehicle thefts, which saw the largest percentage change out of all categories (51 per cent), Bray said even the people that are committing these types of crimes have changed dramatically in the last decade.

According to police stats from the city, car thefts were predominantly committed by young offenders. Now, the average person involved in these crimes is an adult man between the ages of 25 to 40.

“A lot of those are associated very strongly to either gangs, drugs and most times with a firearm. So again, those three areas are very interrelated.”

While the total crime rate has gone up, the majority of the categories reported a decrease when looking at numbers from 2008, which Bray and Fougere mentioned was a positive from the results.

Some of the major percentage changes in 2018 compared to 2008’s numbers include robberies (-52 per cent), violent crimes (-30 per cent) and drug offences (-21 per cent).

Between 2017 and 2018, Regina’s total crime severity index was 126.6, up 10 per cent and only behind Lethbridge. The crime severity index is found using the city’s crime rate and the severity of those crimes.

Find more information on the full police-related crime statistics report from Statistics Canada here.

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