While Prince Rupert works to recruit new employees and families to fill the numerous positions expected to become available due to either expansion or retirement, something I touched on in last week’s editorial, the national crime stats are certainly not going to be doing us any favours.
Out of over 238 communities over 10,000 people across the country, 9th place in terms of violent crime severity and 8th place in terms of non-violent crime severity doesn’t scream out as somewhere young families would want to locate. And with the expected competitive nature to attract workers to the community, don’t doubt that people will be doing their research before choosing where to move.
Frankly I was a bit surprised and perplexed by the numbers because a lot of the crime I think of as severe – drive-bys, gang shootings, armed robberies, assault with a deadly weapon, homicides, etc… – don’t seem to be a big issue in the community. By comparison, Vancouver was ranked 27th.
In 2009 there were two homicides, which were both unfortunate, but in the past two years Prince Rupert has been homicide-free. That’s something that isn’t reflected in the numbers and not something most people would figure when you look at a community in the top 10 across the nation.
I know Inspector Killbery through Rotary and had the pleasure of meeting and riding along with several RCMP members in last year’s Cops for Cancer Tour de North, and there can be no question that these people are extremely dedicated and committed to making Prince Rupert the safest place it can possibly be and work hard on our behalf.
But when you look at the case load per officer, about 103, there is also little doubt that they’re trying to do a major job with insufficient resources – something that will only worsen if the population projections hold true.
I don’t think you’ll find anyone in town happy with the crime ranking relative to the community. It certainly doesn’t paint Rupert in a positive light to the nation. Bringing that number down is going to take a lot of work and resources, but it’s well worth the effort.