Information released by Statistics Canada reveal reports of crime and violent crime in Flin Flon increased last year.
Statistics Canada gave the community a crime severity index of 190.42 and a violent crime severity index of 286.76. The crime severity index and violent crime severity index are numbers designed to show crime trends in communities across Canada to a single number, weighing certain types of offenses against others.
Flin Flon’s crime severity index and violent crime severity index ratings both increased by significant margins from 2017. Last year, Flin Flon had a crime severity index of 147.09 and a violent crime severity index of 131.32. The violent crime severity index for Flin Flon more than doubled, increasing by 118.37 per cent.
“Any time an indicator points to crime being on the rise, it is something we must pay attention to. In this case, 2017 saw a significant dip in the crime severity index from 2015 and 2016 which makes the rise in 2018 seem even larger. The rise in the violent crime severity index is very large,” said Flin Flon RCMP Sgt. Mark Svaren.
The numbers for Flin Flon are higher than the provincial averages for Manitoba and Saskatchewan – Saskatchewan had an average crime severity index of 139.16 and a violent crime severity index of 138.12, with each seeing drops from 2017. Manitoba’s provincial rates were 125.76 and 169.80, both seeing modest increases in 2018.
The number of crimes against the person reported in Flin Flon rose from 206 in 2017 to 226 in 2018, Svaren said. The more modest rises in the number of crimes reported shows that the type and severity of crimes is rising more than the overall rate of offenses.
Svaren said police have observed an uptick in drug and gang-related crime in Flin Flon.
“I have noticed an increase in offences tied to those involved in gangs and/ or in the sale of illegal drugs. We are continuing to focus on these individuals in order to try and curb the number of offences they commit,” said Svaren.
“It is well known that a small percentage of the population commit a very large portion of all of the crimes in a community. The Flin Flon detachment is continuing to identify repeat offenders who have been placed on court ordered conditions and conducts regular checks to ensure these conditions are followed orface new charges.”
According to the Statistics Canada data, the RCMP detachment had a 57 per cent clearance rate overall. The rate of clearances for crimes against the person was 81 per cent in 2018, Svaren said.
Numbers for other northern communities like The Pas and Thompson were higher than Flin Flon were 2018. 1,158 actual incidents were reported in Flin Flon, versus 3,316 in The Pas municipal area and 6,990 in Thompson – more than twice as high, per capita, as Flin Flon. Both communities have higher crime severity indexes (327.82 for The Pas and 365.89 for Thompson) and higher violent crime severity indexes (367.19 forThe Pas, 569.85 for Thompson).
Svaren said the amount of offenses and clearance rates vary from community to community and in different crime categories, often rendering comparisons between communities moot.
“The average clearance rate varies greatly by crime type with crimes against person having the highest clearance rate and other criminal code & property crimes usually having a significantly lower clearance rate. The general clearance rate is therefore greatly influenced by the types of crime in a particular community,” he said.
“This makes comparisons from one community to another irrelevant, unless you can factor in the different crime categories for each community.”
Svaren also added that online rants, while likely cathartic, have little to no impact on crime and that people who have victims of crime should always report incidents to RCMP.
“If you choose to utilize social media to post about potential criminal incidents, please do not let this replace you making an actual report to police as this is your only way to ensure the information you have reaches the police in its entirety,” he said.
“Social media has the ability to spread information at an amazingly fast rate. When the information passed on is accurate it is fantastic in engaging community members and increasing their awareness and preparedness. When information passed on is inaccurate, the opposite effect can happen and community members become focused on one thing when perhaps their attention would be better paid to another thing.”