Mayor, RCMP pan Maclean's crime ranking
Overall according to data collected by Statistics Canada Prince George ranked 14th in the country in 2011 when it comes to criminal activity, an improvement over the previous year when it came in 11th. Nevertheless, running this data through its formula, Maclean’s Magazine chose Prince George as Canada’s most dangerous city for the third year running.
“MacLean’s uses an added filter,” Mayor Shari Green said in a press conference, hosted in reaction to the announcement, Thursday. “Based on that Prince George has been named Most Dangerous City for the third year in a row. The strong message is of course if you are involved in gangs or drugs in this community or in any community in the country, you live a high risk lifestyle.”
However, she added, if you live on the right side of the law, crime will rarely affect you.
“First and foremost, Prince George is not the most dangerous city in Canada,” RCMP Supt. Eric Stubbs added.
He pointed out that while Edmonton had 50 homicides in 2011 and Toronto had 86, Prince George had none.
“When Canadians think about a title like Most Dangerous City, I don’t think a community that didn’t have a homicide would make the list,” Stubbs said.
He added fortunately random acts of violence within the city are relatively low.
Several strategies were put in place to meet the needs of the community, including lowering the crime rate. The crime reduction initiative has so far resulted in 40 prolific offenders being locked up in the Prince George Regional Correctional Centre since April 1. The downtown enforcement unit has significantly decreased the number of crimes taking place in that area. A new domestic violence unit, which is partnering with several agencies, is helping some of the city’s most vulnerable victims.
Stubbs added no matter where the city placed on the census, both he and the Mayor know all the hard work that has gone into facing crime and finding ways to reduce its occurrence.
To achieve meaningful and sustained change will require more hard work.
“The CSI (crime severity index) has dropped as well as the overall ranking. That’s important. We’re trending in the right direction,” Stubbs said. “I am disappointed for the community to have this label when it truly is not Canada’s Most Dangerous City.”
Green pointed out the MacLean’s article was particularly ironic in that it is headlined Getting Away With Murder, yet Prince George, the city named as Canada’s most dangerous, had no murders in 2011.
“I don’t think any city in Canada is dangerous compared to most of the rest of the world,” she said.
As for the magazine article, she said the city will not be reactive to it, but rather celebrate that there were no homicides in the city in 2011.