Violent crime rose by 56 per cent last year from 2021 in Prince Albert, Sask., according to a report submitted to the city's Board of Police Commissioners.
The Prince Albert Police Service (PAPS) reports there were 1,820 victims of violent crime in 2022, while 1,165 were reported the year prior.
The five-year average of violent crime victims in Prince Albert is 1,290, according to PAPS.
Physical force was the most common form of violent crime, followed by knives and bear spray, the report says. There were 72 firearm-related incidents last year.
"The use of weapons in violent crime has increased," the report read.
PAPS reported 1,328 victims of assault in 2022 — the most in the past five years. The majority of victims were women.
The police service stated that 269 of the assaults involved intimate partner violence. The number of victims of sexual violations increased by slightly more than 10 per cent in 2022, compared to the year prior.
PAPS reported nine homicides in 2022. Investigators have laid charges in five cases, while two investigations have closed with no charges and two remain under investigation.
There were 11 known homicides in 2020 and 10 in 2021.
"A review of relationships between homicide victims and accused since 2018 show the majority continue to involve people who are known to each other or are gang related," a news release stated.
PAPS said it updated its monthly statistical reporting in 2021 to reflect the most serious incidents officers are responding to and more accurately report the number of people affected by violent crime.
"The updates impact our statistical reporting to the community," a PAPS spokesperson said.
Increased evictions and missing person calls in 2022
Calls involving evictions soared in 2022 to 7,514 — a 58 per cent increase from the 4,744 in 2021
The number of missing persons reported also increased in 2022 to 1,251, while 925 people were reported missing in 2021.
In 2022, PAPS officers responded to 760 mental health incidents — their Police and Crisis Team (PACT) was involved 240 times.
"PACT pairs mental health professionals with police officers to respond to calls involving individuals in crisis to ensure safety and help connect them with additional support," a news release stated.
The report shows the number of calls for service rose in to 44,235 2022 from 41,144 in 2021.
Despite an increase in both violent crime and calls for service, PAPS reported the fewest arrests made in the past five years.
PAPS made 4,972 arrests in 2022, according to the report.
PAPS said the majority of arrests made were related to intoxication.
PAPS added 12 recruits to its patrol division last year — four of whom are still in training. An experienced officer also joined the police force along with a community safety officer.
A spokesperson for PAPS said 105 of the 106 total authorized police positions in Prince Albert are currently filled.