(Steven Heywood/News Staff file photo)

(Steven Heywood/News Staff file photo)

North Saanich is B.C.’s least “most dangerous” town

Sidney is the Saanich Peninsula’s “most dangerous” town, in magazine’s crime rankings released Nov. 23

North Saanich is B.C.’s least “most dangerous place to live” in Canada, in Macleans Magazine’s latest look into crime statistics.

In a ranking of 229 communities with a population of 10,000 or more people, the District of North Saanich comes in at 225th — in the bottom five places in Canada — with a crime severity index (CSI) of 23. That’s a drop over the magazine’s 2016 statistics. The Canadian average is 70.96.

Macleans released their statistics compilation on Nov. 23. They are based on piublic information released in July by Statistics Canada.

The least dangerous place on the list is Kennebecasis Region on New Brunswick, with a CSI of 16. The most dangerous is North Battleford, with a CSI of 353. B.C.’s “most dangerous place” on that list is Williams Lake, ranked fourth overall.

Macleans based the rankings on specific crime statistics: homicide, assault and bodily harm, theft and property crime, drug offences and youth crime. The numbers were reported by various police forces in 2016.

North Saanich’s homicide rate remains unchanged at zero. Assaults are down (13 incidents in 2016) as are sexual assaults, breaking and entering and illicit drug crime. The only increases in crime came in fraud (16 cases) and impaired driving (23). North Saanich’s impaired driving rate, according to Macleans, is 193 incidents per 100,000 population. The Canadian average is 194.31.

At a ranking of 184th, Sidney is “the most dangerous” of the Saanich Peninsula communities. Still, its CSI is 39 and unchanged from last year. Remember, the Canadian average is 70.96.

Central Saanich sits at 186th and just slightly “less dangerous” with a CSI of 38.

In Sidney and Central Saanich’s case, the statistics show the severity of crime (or violence) is on the rise — but still below the national average. In Central Saanich, assaults are up (41 cases in 2016). And it’s the same in Sidney (33 cases last year).

The statistics show Sidney’s reported firearms offences are higher than the national average, per 100,000 population. But with a total of two such offences in 2016 puts that statistic in perspective.

The rate of sexual assaults in Sidney is up, with five such cases in 2016. And robberies are also up, with one actual incident reported by Macleans. All other crime categories show declining numbers in Sidney.

Apart from assault cases, the only other category showing an increase in cases in Central Saanich, is in fraud — which hit 50 cases in 2016.

In its reporting, Macleans states overall crime in Canada is at is second lowest rate since 1998 — as recorded by Statistics Canada.