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City crime rate drops, crime severity remains steady

The city of Thunder Bay ranks seventh in the country for crime severity but it still remains far above the provincial and national average
Cumming Standoff
The city of Thunder Bay continues to rank well above the national and provincial average for crime severity and overall crime rate. (File).

THUNDER BAY — The overall crime rate in Thunder Bay decreased from last year and while the crime severity remained relatively unchanged, the city still ranks far above the national average.

Statistics Canada released its police-reported Crime Severity index and crime rate data for 2022 last week.

The data shows that police-reported crime in Canada rose four per cent from 2021 to 2022 and violent crime rose six per cent, reaching the highest point since 2007.

“The consecutive increases recorded in the overall Crime Severity Index may indicate a return to the upward trend in crime observed before the start of the pandemic,” the Statistics Canada report reads.

“The first year of the pandemic was marked by a decline in the overall volume and severity of police-reported crime, notably while lockdown restrictions were first implemented, driven by less non-violent crime.”

Non-violent crimes, including property and drug offences also increased by four per cent in 2022 but was down six per cent compared to 2019.

The crime severity index for Canada in 2022 was 78.1 per 100,000 people while the overall crime rate was 5,668. In the city of Thunder Bay, the crime severity index was 103.5 per 100,000 people, with the increase over last year rounded to zero.

The overall crime rate in Thunder Bay in 2022 was 5,842 per 100,000 people, down five per cent from 2021.

Compared to the provincial average, Thunder Bay ranks well above the 58.5 crime severity index in Ontario and the total crime rate of 4,151.

Only New Brunswick, Yukon, and Nunavut saw decreases over last year in the crime severity index, while Manitoba saw the largest increase at 14 per cent.

The national homicide rate also increased for the fourth consecutive year, with 874 police-reported homicides in 2022, an increase of eight per cent from 2021.

“This was the highest rate since 1992,” the Statistics Canada report states. “The national increase was largely the result of more homicides in British Columbia (+30 homicides), Manitoba (+26 homicides) and Quebec (+20 homicides).”

Nationally, Indigenous and racialized Canadians are more likely to be victims of homicides. The homicide rate for Indigenous people in Canada was 10.98 per 100,000 people in 2022, which is nearly seven times higher than the non-Indigenous population.

The city of Thunder Bay set a grim record in 2022 with the most homicides reported in a year at 15. The high homicide rate comes as the city continues to face increasing gun and gang violence related to the illicit drug trade.

According to Statistics Canada’s report, violent firearm related offences increased for the eighth consecutive year, though non-violent firearm offences remain stable.

The rate of level 1 sexual assaults nationally also increased by three per cent in 2022, and with the exception of a decrease in 2020, the rate has been increasing since 2014.

The number of police-reported hate crimes nationally increased by seven per cent from 2021 to 2022, but was much smaller compared to previous significant increases, including a 72 per cent jump from 2019 to 2021.

Doug Diaczuk

About the Author: Doug Diaczuk

Doug Diaczuk is a reporter and award-winning author from Thunder Bay. He has a master’s degree in English from Lakehead University
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