Saskatchewan has to acknowledge its high rate of crime, says Dale Eisler.
Eisler is a policy analyst for the Johnson Shoyama School of Public Policy at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon. He is also the author of a report putting the province in the spotlight, titled Crime in Saskatchewan: The issue too many would rather ignore.
The prairie province leads Canada's provinces with the highest rate of Criminal Code offences per capita and also the crime severity index, and Eisler wants to get people talking about it.
"I think it is a critical economic and social issue for the province that doesn't get the attention that it deserves," Eisler told CBC Radio's The Morning Edition.
Eisler's report notes that crime has decreased overall during the last 20 years, but admits it's "cold comfort." According to most recent data, Saskatchewan had the highest crime rate in Canada, among provinces per capita.
The crime rate sat at about 12,000 incidents per 100,000 people or 12 per cent in 2015. The province's crime rate peaked in 2003, when the rate was 16.4 per cent.
"This is a priority to our province and requires the focus and the resources necessary to address it," Eisler said.
While Canada's crime severity index — which is a measure of the severity of crimes — has decreased by about 30 per cent to a rating of 69.71 since 2006, Saskatchewan's index has increased over the same time to a rate of 135.84. The base rate, since 2006, is 100.
"These are difficult, difficult issues," Eisler said. "There is no easy answer."
If there is a collective agreement from the community and all levels of government, Eisler said Saskatchewan could attain positive change in its crime rate.
"But it requires that committment."
Correction : An original version of this story said the crime rate was 12 incidents per 100,000 people in 2015. In fact it was 12,000 incidents.(Apr 20, 2017 9:25 AM)