Sooke residents can now report various crimes without going to the station themselves with Sooke RCMP’s online crime reporting tool. (File - Black Press Media)

Sooke’s crime severity increased slightly in 2021

But police responded to fewer incidents last year

Sooke’s crime rate crept up last year.

The district’s crime severity index was 56.45 in 2021, compared with 47.96 in 2020. Nationally, the average crime severity index is 73.7.

The index measures the volume and severity of police-reported crime in Canada. All crimes, including traffic and drug offences, are assigned a weight based on their seriousness against a base index of 100.

Among South Island communities listed by Statistic Canada, Victoria had the highest crime severity index at 148.43.

RELATED: Victoria’s 2021 crime severity highest among B.C.’s municipally policed communities

Sooke RCMP responded to fewer incidents last year – there were 5,714 incidents, compared with 5,857 in 2020.

Nationally, the crime severity index dropped slightly last year to 73.7 from 73.9 in 2020, a year when the index dropped seven per cent after five consecutive years of increases.

The index was stable last year, largely because a five per cent increase in the violent crime severity index was offset by lower non-violent crime levels. The boost in violent crime was driven by an 18 per cent increase in sexual assaults across the country. There were 32,242 police-reported sexual assaults in 2021.

A reduction in non-violent offences was mostly a result of 10 per cent drop in break and enter rates and a four per cent drop in theft under $5,000 rates.

Across Canada, there were 788 homicides, 29 more than in 2020. The number of Indigenous homicide victims fell from 18 to 190 in 2021. However, Indigenous Canadians’ homicide rate is six times that of non-Indigenous people.

Four-in-10 homicides involved firearms. Of the 297 firearm-related homicides, almost half (46 per cent) were considered gang-related.

There were 5,996 opioid-related offences — up 13 per cent from 2020. However, heroin rates were down 32 per cent, ecstasy down 25 per cent, methamphetamine down 20 per cent and cocaine-related offences down 15 per cent.

Another positive trend saw impaired driving rates fall nine per cent.

– with files from Black Press

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