It was a sore spot in the city for a good number of years – the Maclean’s magazine most dangerous city index.
Prince George was perched atop the list for a good many years, while local politicians and law enforcement criticized the magazine’s methodology. The magazine’s methodology hasn’t changed too much, but Prince George’s rank has.
Prince George has moved to 11th in the magazine’s list of Canada’s most dangerous cities for 2018. Maclean’s uses Stats Canada numbers to produce a crime report ranking the country’s 305 communities with 10,000 people or more.
Prince George Mayor Lyn Hall says that while there is always room for improvement, he’ll take the No. 11 ranking over the No. 1 ranking.
“I’m much happier with the ranking of 11,” he said Friday. “It’s a reflection of what we’ve been doing in the community and what the police have been doing.”
Hall pointed to police initiatives such as Car 60, the downtown policing, and community policing, among others as helping bring crime rates down.
The report ranks communities according to the Crime Severity Index, which is a Statistics Canada measure of all police-reported crime collected through the Uniform Crime Reporting Survey that takes into consideration both the volume and the seriousness of the crime.
The index uses 2006 as its benchmark. The 2016 data is the most current available and was released July 24, 2017. Maclean’s collects the annual crime data for police services categorized as municipal by StatsCan and having populations of at least 10,000 people. Some police forces may cover larger areas then their name suggests, and populations for each police force were provided on request by StatsCan. Locations without a crime severity index were not included. Nor were communities with no provided population numbers included. For the crimes of assault and sexual assaults, assault level 1 and sexual assault level 1 were used.
Prince George came in with a Crime Severity Index of 154, an increase over last year and more than double the national average of 70.96. The city tallied a Violent Crime Severity Index of 145, also an increase over last year and double the national level of 75.25.
Hall said the slight change in Maclean’s’ methodology likely helped Prince George’s ranking as it would be compared to more cities of similar size.
“The methodology that they were using before, I found it difficult to believe that we were No. 1,” said Hall.
North Battleford Saskatchewan earned the dubious title of the nation’s most dangerous city for 2018 with a crime severity index of 353. Williams Lake garnered a fourth place spot on the list with a crime severity index of 222 and Vernon was ninth with a crime severity index of 157.
The Kennebecasis Region in New Brunswick is the safest region in the country with a crime severity index of 16.