Grande Prairie Mayor Bill Given says despite moving back into the top 10 of Maclean’s Magazine’s “Canada’s Most Dangerous Cities” list, he considers not being number one as a positive note.
“We were in the unenviable spot of being at the top of the list just a few short years ago, and the fact that we’ve been able to move in the right direction is a testament to city staff and the law enforcement professionals in our community,” Given says.
Grande Prairie was named the ninth most dangerous city in Canada in 2020 based on statistics from 2018, which is five spots higher than it was in 2019 but well below when it was ranked first in 2014 and 2015. The city sits above the national average assaults, sexual assaults, robberies, and fraud incidents reported to the RCMP.
Grande Prairie assault statistics show the area had 470 actual incidents reported in 2018, representing 700.6 incidents per 100,000 residents, while the national average is 457.01. The numbers surrounding sexual assault show reports of 79 actual incidents, or 117.76 per 100,000, with the national average just over 75 per 100,000.
The city is also well over the national average when it comes to impaired driving, with 954.01 incidents recorded per 100,000 residents, or 640 actual incidents. The national average is 190.49 per 100,000 people, according to RCMP data.
Given says the high impaired driving numbers could come down to a number of factors, including the median age of residents. However, be believes with high actual incident rates also comes a positive, as he says offenders are being prosecuted.
“We are catching people, [and they are] facing consequences, [rather than] having crimes unreported and having people undertaking activities in the community we’d rather not have them do. The fact we are catching people and hopefully deterring them from doing it in the future is what should be happening.”
Grande Prairie was considered the most dangerous city in Canada by Maclean’s in both 2014 and 2015 and has since seen its Crime Severity Index increase by 24.67 incidents per 100,000 residents over the last five years to 173.
Dawson Creek was listed just outside the top 10 in 13th place with a Crime Severity Index of 166, while Whitecourt was listed as the 22nd most dangerous city in Canada with a CSI of 138. North Battleford, Saskatchewan was ranked as the most dangerous city in Canada with a Crime Severity Index of 386.