New data released from Statistics Canada indicates that the Town of Shelburne’s overall crime rate for 2019 is down, despite an increase in the community’s violent crimes severity index.
The Canadian Centre for Justice and Community Safety Statistics (CCJCSS), a division of Statistics Canada, released their annual Crime Severity Index (CSI) data on Oct. 29. The Crime Severity Index (CSI) data, which was introduced in 2009 looks at an areas overall crime, violent crime, and non-violent crime.
According to Statistics Canada CSI is a, “measure of police-reported crime that reflects the relative seriousness of individual offences and tracks changes in crime severity.”
The report noted that Shelburne’s overall crime rate decreased more in 2019 than the national average, with the town’s crime severity index dropping 4 percent compared to the 5 percent national average. Shelburne’s crime severity index for 2019 was the lowest for all municipal police services in the province with the population between 5000 and 15,000.
While Shelburne’s overall crime rate decreased in 2019 the report also shows that the violent crime severity index increased by 22.7 percent despite a decrease of 14 percent of reported crimes of violence. Shelburne police say that in 2019 one robbery was committed compared to none in 2018 and 11 sexual assaults were reported compared to five in 2018. Shelburne is reported the fourth lowest municipal police service in Ontario for violent CSI.
The report from Statistics Canada also showed that the CSI for non-violent crimes saw a decrease from an average of 28.3 in 2018 to 23 in 2019.
Speaking with the Shelburne Free Press, SPS Const. Paul Neumann addressed what the number could indicate for crime within the town.
“Looking at a one year change, is very difficult to say if it’s indicating anything,” said Const. Neumann. “Being in a small service, you can have three extra sexual assaults reported in one year and that’s all of a sudden a huge percentage increase. What you have to look up, is the year over year, over year trend rather than kind of one year at a time.”
SPS Chief Kent Moore in the press release credited the reported data for 2019 to the “dedicated police officers, who conduct thorough investigations, know the community and maintain high visibility.”
Paula Brown, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Shelburne Free Press