The overall crime severity index in Sooke remains constant, due to the good work of local Mounties, says Mayor Maja Tait.
The numbers for last year were released Monday by Statistics Canada.
The area’s CSI – which is calculated based on the number of crimes reported and the severity of each offence – was ranked 134th overall for communities in Canada with a population of more than 10,000.
Sooke’s crime severity was ranked around the middle in Canada, which is about where it stood in last year’s ranking.
“Our priorities this year at the Sooke detachment are to improve our service to First Nations communities, improve road safety, and to identify and disrupt members of organized crime,” said Staff Sgt. Jeff McArthur.
McArthur said regular crime rate statistics can be inaccurate because they depend on the amount of police officers each place employs.
Because the CSI is a bit more specific and based on a weighting system, it allows the detachment to gain better insight on how it is doing.
McArthur explained that if Sooke had more officers, its crime rates would go up because more crimes would be reported.
“If you just look at raw crime stats, if I threw another 10 guys on the road, they’ll start finding all kinds of things because they’ll have time to do it,” said McArthur.
Sooke has hired two officers for this year: one started in July and the other is expected this fall.
“The population growth here is beginning to exceed the amount of police officers,” said McArthur. “We are doing OK but our officers don’t have a lot of wiggle room in their day to day schedule.”
Tait said she is pleased with the response and commitment from the local detachment, and believes it is doing an excellent job.
“Council is aware that as our population grows and we have more activity, the amount of crime increases as well, so that’s why we’ve looked in to adding additional officers there to help with the work load,” she said.
“Having a greater police presence in the area will likely increase the crime rates because they will see more and catch more, but in turn it will make the community safer.”