The West Shore saw dips in its crime severity index (CSI) almost across the board for both total crime and violent crimes last year, according to new numbers from Statistics Canada.
View Royal was the only municipality to see its CSI increase in 2021 over the previous year, rising to 61.52 from the 59.34 rating it had in 2020.
Langford was the only West Shore jurisdiction to experience a decline in its overall CSI (56.72 down from 61.62 in 2020), as well as its violent and non-violent CSI. Colwood also saw a modest decrease in its overall CSI down to 44.75 from 46.81.
The crime severity index assigns a weight to all crimes based on their seriousness – which is judged in terms of the sentences handed down by the courts in all provinces and territories, according to the national statistics agency. More serious crimes are given higher weights, less serious offences lower weights. Nationally, the average overall crime severity index is 73.7.
Areas grouped together as rural and policed by West Shore RCMP, including Highlands, Esquimalt and Songhees First Nations and a tiny portion of the Juan de Fuca Electoral Area, recovered from a 60 per cent spike in CSI to 82.49 in 2020, falling about 28 per cent to 59.24 for 2021.
Violent crime numbers fell in all jurisdictions last year, but the steepest decline was seen in the rural areas, in which that CSI fell to 111.38 from 230.83 in 2020. Showing a similar trend to the overall CSI spike seen in 2020 for the rural areas, its 2019 violent crime CSI was 98.26.
Inversely, Langford was the only municipality that didn’t see an increase in its non-violent crime index, dropping to 55.54 in 2021 from 61.67 the years before. View Royal and Colwood both saw single-digit percentage increases, while the rural areas non-violent CSI jumped to 40.35 from 28.93 in 2020.
While most of the West Shore saw overall declines, the City of Victoria topped the 2021 CSI list among municipally policed communities in the province, with a score of 148.43, down 10 per cent from 2020) but still higher than the provincial average and significantly higher than the City of Vancouver (90.11).
Further west, Sooke’s CSI crept slightly up last year to 56.45 in 2021, compared with 47.96 in 2020.