The Crime Severity Index is a measure of the seriousness of a crime that is compiled by Statistics Canada based on the Uniform Crime Reporting Survey. In 2009, Dawson Creek ranked 36th in the Overall Crime Severity Index.
The city moved up to 28th in the severity of violent crimes last year compared to 52nd in 2009, and was 23rd in the severity of non-violent crimes in 2010, up from 34th the previous year.
Staff Sgt. Darren Traichevich, commander of the Dawson Creek RCMP detachment, said while he couldn't comment on the specific factors behind the statistics without looking more closely at the numbers, generally, the detachment has been and continues to focus on preventing violent crimes.
"We're being more proactive with enforcement rather than being reactive," said Traichevich. "As a result, were going out there with crime-reduction initiatives, going to the root of the problems in the community – the repeat offenders who are committing the most crimes and the most violent crimes. We've taken violent offenders off the streets and put them in jail."
He added drug trafficking and organized crime is another area where there has been success.
"We've put a huge dent in that, and we've shut some groups down – they've either moved out of town or they're in jail."
He said with a full compliment of officers now at the detachment, those enforcement efforts will only increase.
Traichevich said, generally, the detachment sees a spike in property crimes in the summer months as more people, particularly youth, get outdoors. He said a big part of prevention is the ongoing foot and bike patrols, specifically in the downtown area. He said just last month, another five officers were trained to conduct bike patrols, for a total of twelve.
"We've been very proactive with the bike patrols in the daytime, and more importantly, at night, and we will be very active throughout the summer. It has been well received by City Hall and the community, and we've had positive feedback from businesses, so were going to continue with it."
In British Columbia as a whole, the homicide rate saw a large decrease to an all-time low rate of 1.83 last year, though it is still slightly higher than the national average. British Columbia and Alberta reported the largest declines in the overall crime rate in 2010 at six per cent, while the Crime Severity Index also decreased by seven per cent in British Columbia.
The national crime rate declined five per cent last year compared to the previous year and has been falling steadily for the past 20 years and is now at its lowest level since 1973. Nationally, the Crime Severity Index also declined by six per cent.