​Canada's Crime Rate Is up for the First Time in 12 Years and You Can (Mostly) Blame Alberta

The combination of an economic downturn and a rise in drug use appears to playing out in crime rates in the province.

by Ebony-Renee Baker
Jul 21 2016, 3:23pm

Edmonton's top cop says you should lock up your doors. Thanks, dad. Photo via CP

Crime in Canada increased for the first time in 12 years, and, for the most part, it's all thanks to Alberta, according to new data.

Statistics Canada reported that there was an 18 percent jump in the province's crime severity index (CSI), which determines the volume and severity of police-reported crime. Canada's overall CSI saw a five percent increase from 2014 to 2015.

This spike in Albertan crime has be attributed to many factors, such as the economic downturn due to falling oil prices and a rise of drug-related crime.

Edmonton Police Chief Rod Knecht told reporters this week that he wasn't surprised about the increase.

"We kind of anticipated this. We know property crimes continue to go up again this year – that's driving it. The big driver is break and enters, thefts from vehicles and thefts of vehicles... and it continues to cascade into 2016," he said.

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He said that there isn't much they can do about it because of the state of their economy, and urges Albertans to lock their cars (thanks, dude.) Beside property crime, violent crime in Alberta has not seen as much of an increase.

"The other violent crimes, other than homicides, are down right now," Knecht said. "[The rates] are just trending evenly over the past five years."

Last year's rise in fentanyl usage can also be considered when looking at Alberta's rising crime rates. StatsCan reported an national increase in drug-related offences—other than marijuana—in 2015. Crime involving fentanyl increased by six percent. Last year, there were almost 300 fentanyl overdoses in Alberta alone.

Other provinces that saw an increase in crime last year include Saskatchewan, Ontario and British Columbia.

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