Although you might not know it from watching the evening news, the crime rate in B.C. is the lowest it’s been in 30 years.
On Aug. 26 the Ministry of Public Safety released statistics from 2007, pointing to an eight per cent decrease in B.C.’s crime rate. It was the third decrease in three years.
The biggest declines were in non-violent crimes such as theft, motor vehicle theft, fraud and counterfeiting currency. The number of violent crimes decreased two per cent, for a four per cent drop in the violent crime rate — the lowest in more than 20 years.
Homicides dropped by 19 per cent in 2007 compared to 2006 with 20 fewer reported.
The property crime rate dropped nine per cent, which was also a low for over 20 years.
There were slight increases in vandalism and disturbing the peace, but those increases were offset by a large drop in counterfeiting.
Youth crime rates remained stable, decreasing less than one per cent in 2007 over 2006 where numbers increased.
The drug crime rate also increased in 2007 by 10 per cent, primarily for possession.
Provincially, the crime rate is 104 offences per 1,000 people. By that standard Williams Lake has the highest crime rate in the province with 309 criminal offences for every 1,000 people, followed by Prince Rupert with 257/1,000. Whistler and Merritt are tied for third with 248/1,000. However, the statistics don’t take tourism into account, or the fact that Whistler’s population goes from 10,000 to more than 40,000 during the winter months.
Merritt’s figures were also skewed by the annual Merritt Mountain Music Festival, prompting festival organizers to do away with some of the rowdier elements of the festival, cut ticket sales by one third, and shut down the notorious Campground C area in 2008.