Statistics Canada released its crime severity index (CSI) data for 2019 on Thursday, and it shows that Estevan’s figure remains comparatively low.
Among policing jurisdictions that have a population of at least 10,000 people, Estevan municipal, which is covered by the Estevan Police Service, finished 94th in the country with a CSI rating of 86.94.
Estevan’s violent crime rating was at 55.07, which left it in 201st place. The non-violent crime index, which includes break and enters, thefts, mischief incidents and more, was 98.2, which was 73rd in the country.
More than 300 communities were surveyed.
“Overall I think we’re doing a very good job,” said Police Chief Paul Ladouceur. “When we look comparative to other cities in the province right now, and across Canada for that matter, our rates are very positive, and it shows that we’re continuing to push in the direction that we wanted to, and seen reductions in some of those areas.”
The 2019 data continues a four-year trend of relatively lower numbers for Estevan. The Energy City was 95.57 for 2016, 75.23 in 2017 and 90.37 in 2018. Estevan was 76th for 2018.
The 2017 figure was the lowest recorded in Estevan dating back to 1998; the number for 2019 is the fourth-lowest.
It’s also the fifth straight year that the violent crime index was lower than the overall CSI for Estevan.
“The goal is to keep on that trend,” said Ladouceur. “There’s always the possibility that you can have a bad year, and I don’t want to say that this is a perfect science, but the goal is certainly to continue on that downward trend, and I think our members do a really good job of being out there, and having a very positive relationship with the community.”
The results can be attributed to good policework and good community engagement. People aren’t afraid to call police if they observe a crime or a suspicious activity.
Ladouceur said the numbers were about what he expected, both in terms of the overall number and how Estevan ranked in the country.
Among Saskatchewan cities, Estevan was ninth of the 11 jurisdictions with a population of at least 10,000. The city had the lowest CSI among the six communities with municipal policing, while Martensville and Warman, both of which are RCMP detachments, had a CSI lower than Estevan.
“It’s always good news when you can say you’re scoring the best in the province and you’re scoring certainly well across the country,” said Ladouceur.
The economy continues to have an impact on the EPS. The nature of their calls is changing to social incidents such as domestic disputes, as well as alcohol and drug abuse incidents associated with a decline in the economy.
He is concerned about the number of incidents for non-violent crimes, but he’s pleased to see the low tally for violent offences.
Ladouceur believes people should feel safe in Estevan. A community survey that was released in August 2019 showed people were generally satisfied with the service carried out by the EPS, and they feel safe living here.
“I live in this community, my family lives in this community, and I have friends that live in this community, and I think we’re very fortunate to have a very safe community,” said Ladouceur. “The reason for that goes to the hard work of the men and women on the Estevan Police Service, but also to the community as a whole.”
The data for the Estevan, Carnduff and Carlyle RCMP detachments was also released Thursday.
The CSI for the Estevan RCMP in 2019 was at 94.98, up from 77.49 in 2018 and the highest it’s been since reaching 126.88 in 2013.
The violent crime figure was 52.34, compared to 29.82 in 2018, and the non-violent CSI was 110.09 in 2019, up from 94.46 the previous year.
The Carnduff RCMP was at 51.49, an increase from 35.02 in 2018. The violent crime index for Carnduff was 38.70, while the non-violent crime index was 55.98.
The Carlyle RCMP had a CSI of 51.49, which was up from 35.02 in 2018. The violent crime number stood at 38.70, while the non-violent figure was at 55.98.
North Battleford had the highest CSI in Saskatchewan, and the second-highest in Canada among jurisdictions with a population of at least 10,000, trailing only Thompson, Man.
The overall Crime Severity Index for Saskatchewan was 148.18, up from 140.59 the previous year.
CSI includes all Criminal Code violations. The number of police-reported incidents for each offence is weighted, and all weighted offences are then added together and divided by the corresponding population total.