While the Crime Severity Index (CSI) decreased by almost six percent in Revelstoke for 2018 according to Statistics Canada, the city has much higher levels of impaired drivers, drug violations and vehicle theft per capita compared to the rest of B.C.
The index refers to a measure of police-reported crime that reflects the relative seriousness of individual offences and tracks changes in crime. It was first introduced in 2009.
Incidents of impaired driving last year in Revelstoke was 63 per cent higher when compared to the provincial average. The rate increased by roughly eight per cent from the year prior.
The Revelstoke RCMP wrote in an email that the majority of calls for service are categorized as “Traffic Other Moving Provincial” and mainly pertain to Highway 1. Due to the large volume of traffic that flows through Revelstoke each year, thousands of vehicle stops are conducted.
“When you have a high amount of vehicle stops such as these, members do find other violations which include Criminal Code matters such as: possession of drugs, impaired driving as well as other matters, outstanding warrants, breach of conditions, driving while prohibited, just to name a few,” wrote Cpl. Thomas Blakney from Revelstoke RCMP.
Changes to the criminal code last year gave police officers more authority when screening drivers for alcohol and officers no longer need reasonable grounds to demand a breath sample.
Blakney noted that a large amount of impaired drivers stopped in Revelstoke are not local, but from elsewhere.
The rate for total drug violations is also higher in Revelstoke compared to the provincial average by almost 150 per cent.
While drug violation rates are higher, Blakney wrote that in most cases, drug seizures are considered “no case seizures”, meaning they are small in quantity and in most cases, they do not result in a charge of possession.
|This 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee somehow got to Revelstoke from Calgary after being given up by its original owner after a vehicle accident in 2009. It was found abandoned on the Arrow Lakes Reservoir River flats in April.(Facebook)|
Regardless, cocaine possession is 300 per cent higher in Revelstoke and cannabis possession (pre-legislation in October) was 380 per cent higher.
Revelstoke also has a higher rate of vehicle theft, by 33 per cent. However, Blakney wrote that the longer trend for vehicle theft in Revelstoke is decreasing, in part due to bait vehicles that have been used in the community since 2012.
He continued that most thefts are from transient criminals passing through Revelstoke and dumping an existing stolen vehicle from another area and re-acquiring a vehicle from Revelstoke and continuing on wards.
The Crime Severity Index provincial average increased almost half a per cent to 87.67, which is more than 30 per cent above Revelstoke. Revelstoke’s CSI is 56.23.
According to the index, North Battleford, Sask. is the most dangerous place in Canada at 371.58.
Percentages mentioned in this article were calculated by using actual incidents rate per 100,000 and for city boundaries only and doesn’t include incidents in rural Revelstoke area.