Burnaby 26th most dangerous city in Canada: Maclean's

Burnaby has been ranked the 26th most dangerous city in Canada, according to national crime rankings compiled by Maclean's magazine.

The magazine used Statistics Canada crime data for police service serving cities with Canada's 100 largest populations. The data comprised 2010 rates per 100,000 residents for six crimes—homicide, sexual assault, aggravated assault, vehicle theft, robbery and  breaking and entering.

While Burnaby's population of 230,009 was the 22nd largest, it came in at No. 26 in the most dangerous rankings. Its crime rate was 20.7 per cent higher than the national average, according to StatsCan's Crime Severity Index (CSI), which ranked Burnaby at 26th worst for violent crime and 24th worst for non-violent crime.

Of note is the fact Burnaby's crime numbers have seen a significant improvement over the years, with its CSI crime scores falling by 31.5 per cent since 2005 and 40.4 per cent since 2000.

Prince George was ranked No. 1 most dangerous, followed by Victoria and Saskatoon, Sask. Lower Mainland cities ranked ahead of Burnaby were Surrey (10th), New Westminster (15th), Vancouver (18th), Langley Township (20th) and Maple Ridge (24th).

Burnaby RCMP Chief Supt. Dave Critchley said the crime rates have been dropping and cautioned that percentages can be somewhat misleading when small numbers of actual crimes are involved.

Burnaby has seen success with its crime reduction program, which targets prolific offenders. But it is also dealing with new crimes, such as the recent spike in people being robbed of their smartphones, devices which didn't exist 10 years ago, Critchley said.

As for why Burnaby's crime rate is about 20 per cent higher than the national average (a drop from 39 per cent higher in 2009), he said there are no straightforward explanations.

"Generally, the western provinces have had higher crime rates than the eastern provinces in past decades," he said by email.

Critchley said factors contributing to higher crimes in the West include inner-city, high-crime neighbourhoods, transient populations of young males, addiction issues, gang culture and a thriving drug trade.

In Eastern Canada, factors contributing to lower crime rates, he said, include lower reporting rates ("for example, Ontario has the lowest reporting rate, with only 30% of all victimization incidents getting reported to police"), narrower income gaps and an older, more law-abiding population.



Burnaby Comparative Statistics: 2010 vs. 2009

2009    2010    % Change

Homicide                  6        2        -67%

Aggravated Assault    23        20        -13%

Sexual Assault        102        110        8%

Robbery                  447        346        -23%

Break & Enter        2,322    1,994    -14%

Auto Theft            1,158       887         -23%

Source: Burnaby RCMP

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