Crime in Victoria went up between 2017 and 2018 but the 10-year trend shows an overall drop since 2008, according to the latest numbers from Statistics Canada.
Statistics Canada calculates the crime severity index, which measures changes in the level of severity of crime in Canada from year to year, by looking at both the number and severity of crimes committed.
The index only captures Criminal Code of Canada offences. Non-criminal incidents, including those involving supporting those suffering from mental health crises, sudden deaths, non-criminal traffic offences, protests, missing person and check-wellbeing calls are not captured by the data.
Victoria and Esquimalt saw a crime severity index increase of 5.15 per cent in 2018, with violent crime going up by two-and-a-half per cent and non-violent crime increasing by just over six per cent.
Nationally, the overall crime severity index rose by 1.9 per cent and provincially, it was zero per cent. This means Victoria and Esquimalt’sa increase was above both the national and provincial average.
The national non-violent crime severity index increased by 2.4 per cent and increased for B.C. by 1.06 per cent.
The national violent crime severity index increased by 1.4 per cent but decreased for B.C. by 1.59 per cent.
Victoria Police Chief Del Manak says the rise in violence in Victoria and Esquimalt can be blamed on a shortfall of cops on the street.
“You know currently, I’m running a police organization with 208 police officers when my authorized strength is 249 police officers. That in itself and that gap from the officers I have to those that I ought to be running the organization with is significantly impacting our ability to be out on the streets,” Manak said.
The crime severity index in Victoria has seen a significant drop over the past ten years, decreasing from 90.57 to 75.01, or 17.2 per cent. There has been an increase from the lowest level recorded in 2013. But the downward trend since 1998, the earliest year crime severity index data are available, has continued.