While not all data’s been released, what’s been shared so far is reason for curiosity
Property crimes are spiking and crimes against the person are down says the year-end report from the Regina Police Services (RPS).
The Community Crime Report was released in January with details of all the police-reported crimes that occurred in Regina in 2022. Compared to 2021, there has been a decrease in crimes against the person including violent crimes like homicide and attempted murder, though there is an increase in sexual assaults and property crimes.
In 2021, Regina had the highest per capita homicide rate in Canada. Despite notable incidences, such as the stabbing rampage that occurred at James Smith Cree Nation in September, the number of homicides in Regina has dropped from 15 to 7. Attempted murders also dropped by 20 per cent.
Other municipalities have not seen the same trend regarding violent crime. Prince Albert saw a 56 per cent increase in violent crime in 2022.
Elizabeth Popowich, the manager of public information and strategic communication for the RPS, explained the reasons behind fluctuations in crime can be complex.
“Crimes statistics will fluctuate in any given period, depending on a number of circumstances, not just police attention to prevention and enforcement,” said Popowich.
One of the violent crimes which did increase this year was sexual assaults, although the RPS chief told CTV News on January 24 that he believed it was due to an increase in reporting of sexual assaults, possibly reflecting increased willingness to seek police assistance.
The increase in reported sexual assaults has been a trend extending beyond just this year, with 2021 having the most sexual assaults reported nationwide since 1996. Still, many sexual assaults go unreported. According to the 2019 General Social Survey from Statistics Canada, only 6 per cent of sexual assaults get reported to police.
A 2019 report from the Canadian Justice Department found police-reported sexual assaults had been increasing since 1999, though self-reported sexual assaults had stayed consistent during the same time-period, supporting the notion that increases are due to more reporting and not an increase in the number of incidents.
The pandemic also affected overdose related deaths, as police saw an increase following 2020. The 2022 data may signal a break in the trend with the first decrease in overdose deaths since the start of the pandemic.
Aside from violent crimes, property crimes increased by 8 per cent in Regina compared to 2021. “The 8 per cent increase in total property crime in 2022 doesn’t return us to pre-pandemic levels of property crime,” said Popowich.
A joint statement by Regina Mayor Sandra Masters and Chair of the Regina Board of Police Commissioners Jada Yee pointed to lingering effects of the pandemic on the current crime rates saying people may have experienced a “disconnect to social supports and community programming.”
Aiden McMartin, a founding member of the Restorative Justice Club on campus and fourth-year Human Justice student, thinks restorative justice could help with crime rates because it can “prevent reoffenders.” McMartin explained it can “help [perpetrators] see from a different perspective.”
In the joint statement by the mayor and Jada Yee, they said Regina’s plan for addressing crime in the future will involve increased funding for police patrols, more public education campaigns, addressing new policing strategies in high-crime areas, and increasing community partnerships.
“These aren’t ‘police-alone’ issues; these are societal issues and must have collaborative societal efforts as part of the solution,” said Popowich on other ways to address crime.