A'burg retains title as safest community
July 26th, 2012:
Region does well in latest crime report
Sleep easy, Amherstburg - you're still the safest community in Canada.
According to a report released Tuesday by Statistics Canada, Amherstburg once again has the lowest overall crime severity index in the nation.
With a crime index of 24.3, Amherstburg is at the very bottom of a list of 239 municipalities across Canada.
Four other Essex County municipalities - LaSalle, Tecumseh, Lakeshore and Kingsville - also did well, with crime indexes among the lowest 10 in the country.
LaSalle is second lowest, Tecumseh is fourth lowest, Lakeshore is fifth lowest and Kingsville is 10th.
"We're very proud," said Tim Berthiaume, chief of Amherstburg police.
The overall crime severity index of a municipality is different from its crime rate.
Crime rate figures deal only with the number of incidents. The severity index takes into account the seriousness of the crimes. When coming up with the index figure, violent crimes are weighed more heavily than non-violent ones.
The Statistics Canada report is based on 2011 data. It's the second year in a row that Amherstburg has had the lowest crime severity index in Canada.
"I attribute it to a lot of things," Berthiaume said. "It's the community reporting crimes, co-operating with police, not tolerating offences in their neighbourhoods.
"It's our officers out there doing their jobs.... I honestly believe it's the people and the police working together."
Meanwhile, Windsor has an overall crime severity index of 80.1, putting it at 91st on the list - better than London, but worse than Toronto.
Acting Windsor police Chief Al Frederick echoed Berthiaume.
"We're an information-driven organization. The more interaction, trust and involvement we get from the community, the safer we'll be," he said.
Explaining the difference between Windsor's figures and those of the county, Frederick pointed to Windsor's more concentrated population.
"We're a metropolitan, urban environment," Frederick said. "You talking about a city centre, as opposed to the rural communities."
The Statistics Canada report includes figures for the census metropolitan area of Windsor - which combines Windsor police data with that of neighbouring Essex County police services.
According to those figures, crime in the Windsor-Essex region is falling: 16,800 reported incidents in 2011 represents a decrease of about 7.3 per cent from the number of reported incidents in 2010.
"It's something that's always on our radar: Our clearance rate, reduction in crime, crime prevention," Frederick said.
"(Those figures) certainly say that we're headed in the right direction, but there's still more work to be done."
There's even better news when looking at the nation as a whole.
There were fewer reported crimes in Canada in 2011 than any other time in the last 40 years.
"Overall, this marked the eighth consecutive decrease in Canada's crime rate," the study says.
"Since peaking in 1991, the crime rate has generally been decreasing and is now at its lowest point since 1972."
The Windsor Star
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