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Stats show reported crime is up, charges are down in Kamloops

Reported property and violent crime have increased, according to data from Statistics Canada

Reported crime in Kamloops is up, but the number of people being charged is down, according to data released from the 2021 census.

Statistics Canada recently released its latest criminal-justice numbers and the results show that last year, total crime in Kamloops — excluding traffic offences — were at a five-year high of 13,379 incidents, while the number of people charged — 778 — hit a five-year low.

The 13,379 crime files in Kamloops is an increase from 12,515 in 2020, 11,997 in 2019, 10,157 in 2018 and 10,614 in 2017.

The number of charges from those files has trended down: 778 in 2021, compared to 934 in 2020, 1,307 in 2019, 1,383 in 2018 and 1,410 in 2017.

Kamloops’ crime rate per 100,000 population — which is about the population of the city — is at its highest in the last five years, at a rate of 13,168. That is above the provincial average and it has sat above that threshold for the past five years.

crime stats 2021 A

By comparison, the crime rate across B.C., excluding traffic offences, per 100,000 population in 2021 was 7,486. That rate is down from a five-year high for the province in 2018 of 8,632.

In neighbouring Kelowna — which has a population of more than 140,000 in the last census — that rate is 13,489 per 100,000 population for 2021, which is also a five-year high.

The number of people charged in Kamloops is also at a lower rate than the province and Kelowna. Kamloops last year saw 803 files per 100,000 people ages 12 years and over cleared by charge, a rate cut in half from 2017’s 1,652 and below the provincial average of 919 in 2021. It’s also less than Kelowna’s 940 per 100,000.

Property crime high in Kamloops

As for property crime in Kamloops, that file is also at a five-year high, with 7,746 files in 2021. In 2020, a year believed to have exacerbated property crime due to impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic, there were 7,283 of those crimes in Kamloops, but that was less than the 7,518 in 2019, according to Statistics Canada. There were 6,822 property crime files in 2017 and 6,328 in 2018.

The number of property crime files cleared by charge in 2021 in Kamloops was just 162, down from 193 in 2020, 310 cleared by charge in 2019, 317 in 2018 and 361 in 2017.

By comparison, the rate of people charged for property crimes per 100,000 in Kamloops last year was 183 — less than the B.C. average of 217 and Kelowna’s 275.

Kamloops property crimes last year were well above the provincial average per 100,000 population of 4,216, coming in at 7,624. That rate, however, was less than the rate of property crime in Kelowna which was 7,744.

crime stats 2021B

The provincial rate per 100,000 the past five years has hovered in the 4,000 to low-5,000 range and Kamloops has consistently been above it, with property crimes per 100,000 coming in at the 7,000 range, which has been on par with Kelowna’s numbers.

Looking at the statistics, possession of stolen property files were down in 2021 over 2020, with 203 in 2021 compared to 261 in 2020. In 2019, Kamloops saw 193 possession of stolen property files, compared to 126 in 2018 and 156 in 2017. The rate per 100,000 in Kamloops for possession of stolen property files was 200, which was also well above B.C’s 72 and above Kelowna’s 151.

There were 83 robberies in Kamloops last year, up from 44 in 2020, 77 in 2019, 39 in 2018 and 51 in 2017. By comparison, Kamloops’ rate of 82 robberies per 100,000 was higher than B.C.’s 52 and Kelowna’s 54 in 2021.

Total drug violations are also down in Kamloops compared to five years ago. In 2021, there were 621 files, down from 800 in 2020, 665 in 2019, 683 in 2018 and 899 in 2017. Per 100,000 population, Kamloops had a rate of 611 for drug crimes in 2021, which was well above B.C.’s 343 and Kelowna’s 389.

Arsons are also at a five-year high in Kamloops, with 42 in 2021. That is up from 26 in 2020, 15 in 2019, 29 in 2018 and 30 in 2017. The number of arsons per 100,000 in Kamloops (41) is on par with the B.C. average (42).

More violent crime in Kamloops

Violent crime in Kamloops is also up sharply compared to five years ago. There were 2,551 violent criminal code violations in 2021 in Kamloops, up from 2,430 in 2020, 2,236 in 2019, 1,691 in 2018 and 1,421 in 2017.

By comparison, Kamloops’s violent crimes per 100,000 population in 2021 was 2,511, well above than B.C.’s 1,552 and higher than Kelowna’s 2,265.

Of the 2,551 violent crime files in Kamloops in 2021, about 18 per cent, or 457, were cleared by charge. That’s up slightly from 453 in 2020, but down from 535 in 2019, 539 in 2018 and 520 in 2017.

Charges per 100,000 population for violent crime in Kamloops in 2021 came in at a rate of 448, close to B.C.’s rate of 431 and Kelowna’s rate of 453.

Looking at specific stat lines, Kamloops has experienced 11 murders in the past five years — two in 2021, three in 2020, three in 2019, one in 2018 and two in 2017. There have been 13 murders in Kelowna during the past half-decade.

Compared with the rest of the province, Kamloops’ two homicides in 2021 equate to a rate of 1.97 per 100,000 population, whereas across B.C. there was a rate of 2.40.

As for assaults with a weapon or causing bodily harm, Kamloops had 213 in 2021, 175 in 2020, 183 in in 2019, 175 again in 2018 and 137 in 2017. The five-year high in 2021 is a rate of 210 per 100,000 population and above B.C.’s rate of 201.

Level one sex assaults in Kamloops are also trending upwards. There were 160 files in 2021, 125 in 2020, 108 in 2019, 107 in 2018 and 78 in 2017.

Kamloops had 157 sex assaults per 100,000 population in 2021, which was well above B.C.’s rate of 86 and Kelowna’s rate of 111.

There were 121 total weapons violations in 2021 in Kamloops, which are down from 149 in 2020, 160 in 2019, on par with 121 in 2018 and lower than 2017’s 144. Per 100,000 however, weapons violations were 119 for Kamloops, a rate still higher than B.C.’s 89 and Kelowna’s 108 in 2021.

About these numbers

Overall, total reported crime in Kamloops (excluding traffic) is not the highest Kamloops has seen over the last 20 years — those numbers came in the early 2000s, when criminal code violations were 13,937 in 2003, 13,507 in 2004 and 13,783 in 2005.

However, reported crime did hit a 20-year low about 10 years later, with about 8,500 incidents in 2014 and 2015, before trending up to the level it is today.

However, numbers beyond the past five years may be skewed when compared to reporting from the past five years.

crime stats 2021C

According to Statistics Canada, crime trends in 2018 and 2019 may be attributable in part to changes in its reporting methodology for police services across Canada to a victim-centred approach. Many police forces across the country, including those in B.C., implemented those changes, including B.C. in 2019.

Statistics Canada warned that comparisons in statistics between jurisdictions, provinces and years should be made with caution, as many factors influence police-reported crime stats other than actual changes in crime.

KTW has a call in to Kamloops RCMP regarding criminal-justice statistics.