Just in time to ruin your holiday spirit, MacLean’s has released their annual “Canada’s most dangerous places” report. Considering there’s 229 Canadian cities considered, Brandon falls fairly close to the top of the list.
The data used for the calculation is taken from Stats Canada’s crime severity index that annually analyzes police-reported crime rates across the country. The way in which the rates are calculated has been modified to better reflect the state of nation-wide criminal activity, and the data shows that the severity of crimes committed in Canada is rising.
The index seeks to understand if crime gaining police attention has increased in severity, and if the reported crime in a given city or province is more or less serious compared to all of Canada. The traditional crime rate measured the number of police reported incidents occurring for a given population without taking into the consideration the seriousness of the crime – every offense carried the same weight in the overall calculation. Without this consideration, the rates were heavily influenced by any fluctuation in less serious offenses, as 40% of police reported crime in Canada comes from thefts under $5,000 and mischief. Further, because of their relatively low volume, serious crimes have very little impact on changes to the overall crime rate. The revised system assigns each offense a seriousness weight based on court sentencing including the incarceration rate and the average length of the prison sentence for each type of offence. The overall crime ranking of each city takes into consideration the change in volume of a particular crime, and the relative seriousness of the crime in comparison to other crimes.
The change in calculations has not rectified all biases, as less serious crimes (which dominate the crime rate) are much less likely to be reported to police, and consequently less likely to be factored into the calculation.
Of 229 cities total, Brandon is #4 for youth crime. The youth criminal justice act offenses rate is 255.6 per 100,000 people, while the Canada average is 16.7. Brandon is #11 for firearms offenses, with 19.8 per 100,000 people, the Canada average being 6.8. With 114.9 sexual assaults reported per 100,000 people, Brandon scores #21 in Canada, with the national average being 56.6. While 703.4 incidents per 100,000 people put Brandon at #38 for general assault, with the national average at 430.7.
Brandon had rates very similar to the national average for robbery, breaking and entering, fraud, and impaired driving. The numbers for drug offenses including cannabis, cocaine, and other controlled drugs trafficking and production was well below the Canadian average. Fortunately, Brandon ranked extremely low for homicide. As a more general indicator of ‘danger’, Brandon is 33 of 229 on the violent crime severity index, and 52 for crime severity index. On a positive note, Brandon’s rates for every category has decreased since the 2017 report.