Salmon Arm RCMP detachment. (File photo)

Crime stats show incidents of violence up in Salmon Arm

RCMP say violent crime rate on the rise, trend continues into 2020

Incidents of violent crime are on an upward trend in Salmon Arm.

Recently released crime numbers from Statistics Canada show Salmon Arm municipal RCMP officers responded to 238 violent offences in 2019, compared to 173 the year before and an average of 148 over the preceding five years.

Officers from the Salmon Arm detachment tasked with policing the rural area around Salmon Arm saw an increase in violent incidents as well with 94 violent criminal code violations in 2019. The Stats Canada report shows 71 violent incidents in 2018 and a five year average of 61.

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Staff Sgt. Scott West from the Salmon Arm RCMP said the increase in violent offences is a trend upwards which has been on their radar since at least 2017.

“I can say 2019 is up over 2018, and 2020 so far is up over 2019 for these types of crime reporting,” West said.

Although the increase has been noticeable, West said the RCMP in B.C. changed the way they report statistics in late 2018 or early 2019, possibly accounting for some, but not all of increase.

West said his data suggests reports of violent crime in Salmon Arm are in line or lower than other communities with comparable populations.

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Nearby communities also saw a rise in violent offences. Vernon municipal RCMP officers saw 1,150 violent incidents in 2019, up from 777 the year before. Municipal RCMP officers in Revelstoke responded to 135 violent offences, compare to 63 the previous year.

West said a possible reason for the increase coupled with the new way of reporting statistics is the growing population in Salmon Arm and the surrounding area, which coincides with an overall increase of reported crimes.

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