Crime numbers up in P.G. in 2010
She still disagrees with a Maclean's magazine article that called her community Canada's most dangerous city, however Prince George's top cop isn't glossing over fresh numbers that show crime is still on the rise here.
"Do we have a problem? Yes. But is it to the degree of other places? I would say no," RCMP Supt. Brenda Butterworth-Carr remarked Monday at a press conference where she revealed overall crime statistics in Prince George were up by five per cent year-over-year in 2010.
Most notably, nine murders were recorded in and around the city last year, triple the figure from 2009. Police have laid charges in five of the nine slayings, and the superintendent said seven of those murders were "directly related to gangs and organized crime."
She said for the past 18 to 24 months, Prince George has dealt with the "fallout" from organized crime figures being displaced here from other parts of the province, particularly the Lower Mainland. And she expects crime statistics to continue increasing for a similar amount of time as local Mounties step up efforts to get the problem under control.
In 2010, police here dealt with a total of 134 weapon offences (up 29 per cent from 2009) and 528 drug offences (up eight per cent). Butterworth-Carr said those files are most often associated with organized crime and the increases are largely "self-generated, because we've specifically gone out and those type of offences."
Mayor Dan Rogers said it's no longer acceptable for communities to deal with criminals simply by running them out of town, and he called for more co-operation at a provincial level.
"We need to think bigger than just our own municipal boundaries," he urged. "We need to think, 'How we can co-ordinate and get at the heart of what's driving this criminal activity?"
Locally, Rogers continued, city council has made community safety "one of our top priorities," with a focus on prevention and intervention.
About 95 per cent of the Prince George detachment's files were generated within city limits, where Mounties recorded a total of 12,373 offences in 2010, versus 11,733 in 2009.
Last year in the city, police handled 94 sexual assaults (up 18 per cent) and 789 break and enters (up five per cent). Conversely, the city saw a 50-per-cent decline in aggravated assaults with six, and a six-per-cent decrease in impaired driving files with 238.
Butterworth-Carr noted "there is always a little room for error" in crime statistics based on the way Mounties code their files and apply their resources, "but for the most part, they're fairly accurate."