Police tape at the scene of an alleged hit and run in Whitehorse on Feb. 8, 2018. The Yukon saw a drop in crime in 2018 compared to the year before, according to newly-released Statistics Canada data. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)

Crime down in the Yukon in 2018, according to StatsCan

Crime, overall, went down in the Yukon in 2018 compared to 2017, according to data released July 22

The Yukon saw a drop in crime in 2018 compared to the year before, according to newly-released Statistics Canada data, bucking a national trend that saw, overall, a slight increase in crime country-wide.

It’s the second year in a row that both the territory’s crime severity index (CSI), which measures change in the level of severity of crime, and crime incidents have fallen.

Statistics Canada released its report on police-reported crime statistics for 2018 on July 22.

The Yukon’s CSI fell seven per cent from 2017 to 2018, decreasing from 183.85 to 170.34.

The number of actual incidents fell too, from a total of 8,803 in 2017 to 8,754 in 2018.

Breaking it down into different crimes, police-reported sexual assaults increased by 20 per cent (from 66 incidents to 81) an increase consistent with a national trend that the report said corresponded “in timing to the growing public discussion of issues around sexual violence.”

Fraud dropped by three per cent.

The Yukon also saw its violent crime severity index, which only, as its name suggests, takes into account violent crimes, decreased by 17 per cent, due in part to a relatively significant drop in the number of homicides in the territory — from eight in 2017 to three in 2018.

There was also a decrease of two per cent in the Yukon’s non-violent crime severity index, with the report attributing the small drop to a decrease in “administration of justice violations,” disturbing the peace and cocaine-related offences. That was offset by an increase in mischief and breaking and entering.

The overall drop doesn’t mean the Yukon RCMP haven’t been busy, though.

In an emailed statement, Yukon RCMP Commanding Officer and Chief Supt. Scott Sheppard said that despite the reduction, the division “has not seen a decrease in workload/calls for service.”

“The numbers provide only a snapshot in time,” he added. “We look forward to hopefully seeing that trend continue over the years.”

The other two territories, as well as five provinces — Prince Edward Island, Ontario, Manitoba, New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador — all reported a higher CSI in 2018 compared to the year before. Along with the Yukon, Saskatchewan, Quebec and Nova Scotia reported drops in their CSIs, while British Columbia and Alberta’s remained the same.

Nationally, police-reported crime, taking into account both CSI and crime rate, increased by two per cent in 2018, making it the fourth consecutive year there’s been a rise. However, Statistics Canada notes in its report, the CSI was still 17 per cent lower in 2018 compared to a decade ago, with the increase seen in 2018 attributed to a rise in police-reported fraud, sexual assault, shoplifting of $5,000 or less and theft over $5,000.

The report notes that, when interpreting the data, it’s important to remember that it includes “only those incidents that come to the attention of police, either through reporting by the public or through pro-active policing.”

Results from the most recent General Social Survey on Victimization, the report says, found that only about 31 per cent of violent and non-violent incidents were reported to police.

Contact Jackie Hong at jackie.hong@yukon-news.com

A previous version of this article incorrectly stated the Yukon’s CSI in 2018. It is 170.34, not 107.34.

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