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Violent crime rises significantly in Waterloo Region in 2022 |


Violent crime and crime overall in Canada increased across the country last year, according to Statistics Canada, which released its annual Crime Severity Index (CSI) report on Thursday.

“The consecutive increases recorded in the overall CSI may indicate a return to the upward trend in crime observed before the start of the pandemic,” the StatCan report noted.

The federal CSI was reported to be at 78.1 in 2022, while Waterloo Region’s CSI for 2022 came in above the national average at 79.1 with the only rates higher across Ontario being in Thunder Bay (103.5) and Sudbury (82.8).

The crime severity index is measured annually to record changes in crime. It takes into account both the severity of crimes and the number of crimes.

That being said, the crime rate, which is police-reported crimes per 100,000 people, shrunk year over year in Waterloo Region and came in below Kingston and London as well as other municipalities in Ontario.

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In Waterloo Region, the Violent Crime Severity Index leaped upwards by 15.61 per cent after having dropped the previous two years — and the area is not alone.

The national rate for the Violent CSI increased by five and six per cent over the past two years, a number which has been buoyed by a higher rate of homicides, sexual assaults, robberies and extortions.

Waterloo police chief Mark Crowell issued a statement which acknowledged that the rise in violent crime was an issue for the community as well as for his police service.

“As violent crime rates continue to rise, so too do the demands on our investigative resources,” he said. “This heavy workload places significant strain on our resources and, as such, may affect how long it takes to resolve a case quickly.”

The chief said the service has a lower officer-to-resident proportion than most of the country but it is working on recruiting more officers.

“Further, according to the Municipal Benchmarking Network Canada’s 2021 measurement report, Waterloo Region has the highest number of reported criminal code incidents (43) per police officer among “upper tier governments,” he noted.

Crowell said regional police have also developed “a comprehensive strategy to enhance service delivery to the community” which “includes a focus on targeted crime suppression, a diversion of calls for service where appropriate, and improved proactive initiatives.”

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He said the changes to how the police are operating have seen clearance rates jump in a number of crime areas (sexual assaults, assaults, robberies, utter threats and break-ins) so far this year.

Police in Waterloo Region responded to 35,950 incidents in total in 2022, according to Statistics Canada. The number has risen for four straight years.

While that number is at a five-year high, the rate per 100,000 was down to 5,671.89 in 2022 from 5,814.68 in 2021.

Included in the statistics were 9,248 violent incidents, which is an increase from the 8,822 that were reported in 2021. Back in 2018, that number was 5,768.

There were also seven homicides in the region last year, up from two in 2021 but down from eight in 2020.

The number of assaults continues to creep towards 5,000 annually as there were 4,877 in 2022, up 76 from 2021.

In addition, the area saw 387 robberies last year, which is up from 278 which follows a similar path to the rest of the country.

“The rate of robbery was also up for the first time in two years, increasing 15 per cent in 2022,” according to StatCan. “Over the five years preceding the drop in 2020, national robbery rates had remained relatively stable.”

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The increase in cybercrime, both locally and federally, over the last few years is staggering.

In 2018, there were 1,180 incidents reported, whereas last year that number reached 3,732.

The number of incidents reported nationwide more than doubled over the same period, at 74,073 last year, up from 33,893 in 2018.

&copy 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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