The crime rate in the Central Okanagan was significantly higher than the rest of Canada in 2021.
According to Statistics Canada, the Kelowna census metropolitan area (CMA), which covers Lake Country to Peachland, had a crime rate of 11,112 per 100,000 population last year compared to 2020, up 10 per cent. The national crime rate was 5,375.
A CMA is considered one or more neighbouring municipalities around a major urban core.
The Central Okanagan had a police-reported Crime Severity Index (CSI) of 122.3, which was second only to Lethbridge at 128.7. That city’s crime rate was 9,836 per 100,000. The national CSI was 73.7. CSI measures the overall seriousness of crime from one year to the next by tracking the prevalence of crime within a community, and the seriousness of the crimes committed.
The Kelowna CMA ranked seventh worse in the country for violent crime. Thunder Bay had the worst rate ahead of Winnipeg and Sudbury.
Statistics Canada says an increase in violent crime across the country last year compared to 2020 was attributable in part to higher rates of sexual assault, harassing and threatening behaviours, and homicide, among others. Police reported 788 homicides in 2021, 29 more than the year before. The increase in homicides nationally was the result of more homicides in Ontario (37) and B.C. (25).
Among the provinces, opioid offences were highest in B.C. (57 per 100,000 population) and Kelowna was highest in the province (116). The Lethbridge CMA (124) was again highest in the country.