Parksville sees spike in crime severity index ranking

Police say jump in petty crime behind latest numbers for ‘most dangerous places’ list

Parksville saw the eighth-largest increase in the ‘five-year change in Crime Severity Index’ category as Maclean’s released its annual list of Canada’s most dangerous places.

In some categories of crime, Parksville numbers (incidents per 100,000 population) are higher than the national average — including break-and-enters, fraud, impaired driving and youth crime.

Parksville took the 33rd spot (of 237) overall, according to the Crime Severity Index, with a measurement of 120 — above the average of 75.01. The CSI (a Statistics Canada measure of all police-reported crime) measures the severity of offences, as well as amount when calculating the index. In 2013, Parksville’s CSI was 66.47.

Staff Sgt. Marc Pelletier said Parksville’s CSI doesn’t necessarily equate to a more dangerous community.

“I think what’s happening is we’ve got a lot more petty crime, we’re getting more theft from vehicles and stuff like that,” he said. “People don’t lock their cars here, we’ve got to start having the people lock their doors and lock their cars and keep their stuff out of the vehicles.”

Because of Parksville’s smaller population, the CSI can still mean relatively low numbers. Actual youth crime offences add up to just three. Breaking-and-entering incidents were at 116, impaired driving at 38 and fraud at 71.

Pelletier said the context of the specific incident is important when looking at these numbers. For instance, he said one person taking a wallet from a car could rack up multiple fraud charges.

“So you get a credit card and you go to 10… the gas at one place, go get the snacks at another place, do this do that, well that’s 10 different files and that’s all fraud from the same theft from vehicle,” he said. “There’s no violent crime.”

READ MORE: How dangerous is Parksville when it comes to crime?

The city was well down the list in the Violent Crime Severity Index at 157th. The numbers showed seven sexual assaults and 34 assaults, with both rates per 100,000 population below the national averages. There were zero firearm offences; no homicides; two robberies; no cannabis trafficking or production incidents; one cocaine trafficking or production incident and seven incidents of other controlled drugs, trafficking or production.

Neighbouring Port Alberni was 18th on the CSI list; Nanaimo was 36th, with Courtenay 57th, Campbell River 80th and Comox 194th.

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