Canada is one of the world’s safest nations, but nowhere on Earth is perfect. We still deal with our share of violent crime. British Columbia’s crime statistics come in at well above our nation’s average, and many paint an alarming picture.

Despite being an overall safe place to live, as criminal defence attorneys in British Columbia, we know all too well that there are still violent crimes committed in our province, especially in the Vancouver Metro Area.

For 2015, the most recent year with comprehensive reporting, the stats are a bit alarming. Here’s what we’ve found:

Statistics courtesy of the Minister of Public Safety

Major Highlights from the Report:

Although BC has enjoyed an era of decline in crime and these statistics are not as severe as they were in the not too distant past, crime has, in general, trended upward. Here are some of the major highlights:

  • BC’s Crime Rate Has Increased: After 10 consecutive annual decreases, the crime rate in BC has ticked upward. Now, for every 1,000 people, there are roughly 78 offences.
  • A 6% increase in the violent crime rate over 2014: At first, this might be a frightening statistic, but the large increase is mainly due to offences such as theft under $5,000, fraud, and robbery. Other major contributors were assaults, uttering threats, and harassing communications.
  • BC’s violent crime severity index (violent CSI) is far above average: Compared with the average throughout Canada, BC’s violent CSI is extremely high, a major reason being the relatively dangerous (though still generally safe) Vancouver Metro Area. The violent CSI for BC is over 11% higher than the national average.
  • BC’s non-violent CSI is ever further above average: The non-violent crime index pegs BC at a full 45.7% higher than the national average.
  • Drug crimes have decreased: Finally, some good news: A major drop in cannabis-related offences has drastically decreased BC’s total number of drug offences.

Total Criminal Code Offences

In general, 2015 saw more criminal code offences than 2014, with a few categories seeing major increases. Of course, all statistics must be taken with a grain of salt and random variance must be factored in as well; for example, say there were next to no homicides committed one year but several the following year, then there would be a major percentage increase in offences, but no general trend toward violence in BC.

  • Total criminal code offences increased 15,000
  • Total offences increased by 4.5%
  • The overall crime severity index increased by 3.5% with youth violence factored in

As you can see, the total number of violent criminal offences committed in British Columbia has increased generously for the first time in a decade. While BC is still a safe place to live, it never hurts to exercise more caution.

However, it is important to note that all those charged are innocent until proven guilty. If you’ve been charged with a criminal offence, contact Sicotte & Criminal Defence Lawyers immediately.