EDITORIAL: CSI Vernon under scrutiny

Maclean’s magazine article ranks Vernon in top-10 of most dangerous cities in country

Is Vernon dangerous?

According to Maclean’s magazine, which ranked Vernon No. 9 on its list of 229 communities across the country based on the crime severity index (CSI), yes it is.

The CSI, according to the magazine article, is a Statistics Canada measure of all police-reported crime, which takes into consideration both the volume and seriousness of offences.

Vernon’s CSI from the last available statistics in 2016, is 157. The Canadian CSI average is 70. Topping the list is North Battleford, Sask., a city with a third the population of Vernon (just over 14,000) yet more than double the CSI (353).

The local RCMP say Vernon is also a smaller city, and population size is a factor when determining rankings. A single crime – either violent or non-violent – can have a more significant impact on crime severity rankings than it would in larger centres.

The Mayor of Vernon says his city is safe. Akbal Mund, when contacted by The Morning Star, hadn’t heard of the article but felt dumbfounded his city was in the top-10. “Ask anybody who lives here. They’ll say it’s safe.” Well that sentiment is shared by a lot of people, yes, but others would disagree, based on website comments.

Certainly the story hit a note on social media: As of Friday noon, more than 38,500 people have had access to the story and more than 460 people have shared it.

More officers are needed, yes, but citizens can do their part to alleviate crime. Call Crime Stoppers, which is anonymous, if you have information on a crime; join Citizens on Patrol or volunteer at the community safety office. We can all do something to get Vernon out of the top-10 most dangerous cities and into the top-10 most desirable places to live.

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