For the second year in a row, Regina is not No.1 for crime in Canada.
Statistics Canada released its report on crime numbers for the country’s 33 major cities Wednesday.
It showed the national crime rate rose three per cent — the first increase in 12 years.
There were almost 1.9 million Criminal Code incidents — excluding traffic offences — reported by police last year, about 70,000 more than in 2014, Statistics Canada said Wednesday.
The national crime severity index, which measures the volume of reports and how serious they are, rose five per cent in 2015. But the agency said that was still 31 per cent lower than a decade ago.
The report also marks the first time since 2004 Regina has seen a year-over-year increase in crime.
While acknowledging the stats are disappointing, acting Regina Police Service Chief Dean Rae believes progress is being made.
“Through that collaboration, through the partnerships and through the work in the community, we believe we can reduce that number,” Rae said.
“We’re hoping through the dedication and our commitment to partnerships and the work we are doing, we will be able to get this thing back on track and see some reductions in the next couple of years.”
The 2015 stats confirm that while Regina saw a five per cent increase in crime severity, it’s less than the increases in most other western Canadian centres.
Only Saskatoon and Vancouver, with three per cent and one per cent increases respectively, had smaller bumps.
Despite last year’s numbers, the trend over the last decade has been positive for Regina, with large decreases in crime.
Between 2005-2015, the robbery rate in the Queen City went down 55 per cent, and break and enters declined by 61 per cent.
Those eleven years saw Regina boast a 48 per cent reduction in the crime severity index.
Other than Halifax, no other major Canadian city saw bigger decreases.
“If you take the large picture here, we have been reducing crime, our rates our going down and that is a positive,” said Regina Mayor Michael Fougere.
In 2015, Regina saw crime at its lowest level since 1991; when Statistics Canada began its current method of collection and comparison of crime data.
Provincial differences in crime
There were wide provincial differences in the recent national report, with the rate rising 12 per cent in Alberta, staying the same in Ontario and dropping 12 per cent in Prince Edward Island.
National rates of police-reported crime increased for most Criminal Code violations, including attempted murder, firearms offences, homicide, robbery and sexual assault.
Rates for all types of property crimes also increased from the previous year, including fraud, possession of stolen property, identify fraud, theft, and breaking and entering.
– With files from The Canadian Press