September 20th, 2021

Lethbridge No. 1 on crime severity index again


By Dale Woodard on July 29, 2021.

For the second straight year, Lethbridge has topped Statistics Canada’s Crime Severity Index.
The Statistics Canada report released Tuesday showed Lethbridge has a CSI index of 138.65, down roughly three per cent from 142.77 in 2019.
Lethbridge also posted a violent crime severity index of 109.32 and a non-violent crime index of 148.87.
The CSI measures the overall seriousness of crime from one year to the next by tracking both the prevalence of crime within a community and the seriousness of the crimes committed.
Speaking at a press conference alongside Lethbridge mayor Chris Spearman Wednesday morning at City Hall, Lethbridge Police Chief Shahin Mehdizadeh noted the downward crime trend from 2019 and added that number one ranking for Lethbridge isn’t exactly what it seems.
“The crime severity index is on the downward trend as it is in many parts of the country, which is good news, and crime is actually down by about 10 per cent in Lethbridge,” said Mehdizadeh.
Mehdizadeh pointed to opportunity crime as a major factor in Lethbridge.
From the LPS perspective, Mehdizadeh said they’ve rolled out some initiatives to combat that, including the Crime Reduction Methodology, introduced five months ago.
“In addition, we have been partnering with our community and our citizens in how they can do their part to reduce crime in the city because if we take the crimes of opportunity or likelihood of them away from the criminal element, we’ll still have crime in this city, but we we’re going to see a downward trend.
“We have to dig down into the information, but the majority of the crimes you’re seeing that brings the CSI up in Lethbridge has to do with property crime and the majority of the property crime here is basically opportunity crimes. My job now that COVID is over, hopefully, we can get together with our citizens and look at those partnerships and how we can together protect the city.”
Mehdizadeh also noted issues with homelessness and addiction issues and the work being done with the City through the Community Wellness and Safety task force.
“We are trying to be a player at that table and hopefully look at other partners and agencies who have the expertise in those areas to help out,” he said. “When you look at where Lethbridge sits today, this is many years of crime trends that have happened. We can’t get rid of it overnight, but the positive thing is as long as we’re seeing a downward trend in these numbers, I think that’s where we go.”
Mehdizadeh spoke of other cities mentioned on the Stats Canada list.
“I believe those are the cities in Canada that are policed by municipal police forces,” he said. “There are many other cities that have contracts with different levels of government that aren’t included in that city. If you refer to that list, we’re not number one, in fact we’re down to about number 20 on that list. Still, we don’t like to be there, but the fact we are the number one city in Canada, sometimes the way it’s reported, it may actually bring the notion this is the most unsafe community in the country and that’s not the fact. There are actually many other communities who actually have much higher CSI numbers, but they don’t get factored into the list you have because those are the municipal police forces.”
Still, the police chief conceded Lethbridge grapples with serious crimes and addiction with not enough police resources to deal with it.
“Do we have enough police resources? No. Does anyone have enough police resources? The answer is no. We can always use more,” he said. “But what I can say is the resources we have, we’re looking at everything that we can be more efficient and our actions more meaningful to serve the community. At the end, that’s all we can do. But we’re really on the path of intel-led policing and making sure our resources are deployed in the most meaningful way to support the health of the community and make it safe.”
The topping of the CSI list aside, Mehdizadeh said Lethbridge is not an unsafe community.
“Do we have crime here? Absolutely, and we’re doing whatever we can,” he said. “However, we have to be reflective of what drives these numbers up and if people want to have a safe community, it’s a collective action and partnership with the police and community, each and every citizen, to make sure we have a safer community. I think as we get that message out and hopefully educate our citizens more in how they can better protect their assets, properties and the community, I think we’ll be looking at a much better downward on this trend and get off that podium.”
Spearman said drug-related crime “has been a challenge for us in our city.”
Still, the mayor felt Lethbridge gets an unfair rap.
“Constantly referring to Lethbridge as the number-one crime city does us no good in terms of our reputation and it’s false. There are half a dozen cities in Alberta that have higher crime rates than Lethbridge, but they’re policed by the RCMP,” he said.
“I would invite the media to tell a balanced story and compare the story in Lethbridge versus crime rates in places like Peace River, Grande Prairie, Red Deer, Cold Lake and Lloydminster, because they’re all higher than us. Instead, the national story is Lethbridge number one only because we have a municipal police force. I would ask for fairness and balance because people should be proud of what we’re doing in our city. We’re being innovative with new initiatives to address this. We’re asking for supports that exist in other cities. But we also have to recognize that when those supports and opportunities are provided, we have to find places in our community to house them and offer those services to make sure they exist.”
Follow @DWoodardHerald on Twitter

Follow @DWoodardHerald on Twitter

Share this story:
<5
Subscribe
Notify of
18 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Citi Zen

We all know what the crux of the problem is, but no one will do anything about them.

biff

yes, citi, “them”. them them them them them…

Montreal13

The mayor could offer buildings/land the city owns right by city hall. Or how about city land by the bus barns? Problem solved. No? Then it appears as though the mayor wants some residential neighborhood to except these magic bullet services he speaks of. Many of these services already exist in the city. Would more of the same just attract more of the same?

pursuit diver

Build a bigger shelter, more will come from other communities, give them an apartment complex, they will destroy it in months! Give them land, it will turn into a cesspool of human waste and drug paraphernalia.
You have to deal with these people the same as they would if you or I decided we were going to camp out in parks in the day, then pillage neighborhoods at night, break into closed businesses and cars.
They believe they are untouchable because they are indigenous, because they demand we reconcile with them and they appear to have current governments by the lower parts, threatening to squeeze harder! We have spineless leaders that will not stand up for the other 33 million Canadians and say it IS time everyone is treated EQUAL. We all have to work for living, pay taxes, and expect that if we commit crimes, we are all going to be treated equal in the courts and penal system! That includes the wealthy, who can afford to go into court, knowing they are guilty, but hire special investigators and ‘expert’ witnesses, to win their court case! Lawyers need their wings clipped! There are too many cases where they got guilty people off!
No more preferential treatment for the Indigenous! Do you want to help them? Stop feeding them, clothing them, supporting them in every area!
It is time to end the Indian Act and end all treaty payments! This is turned into give me give me give me society that continues to come up with new ways to squeeze the taxpayer!
We have created a monster that is ripping our country apart! We have enticed them by telling them they are special, they are the First Nation of Canada and that we are on THEIR land! Did they tell the other tribes that they were on their land when they conquered them and made agreements? There were many battles the early Indians had amongst themselves, where they took over territories, yet they seem to think it doesn’t count, because we are ‘colonialists’.
We need to end all of this separation, all of this anger, all of the demands and stand as Canadians, period! Not Indigenous, not Irish Canadian or Italian Canadian, but Canadian and shut down all of the separatist groups that see themselves as ‘special’.
If we don’t, this country will continue it’s downward slide and we it fail, as some other countries of the world, including the US would like, so they can take over!

Learjet

One big error in your rant: Only 60% are indigenous. That means 40% are just like the rest of us.

pursuit diver

87% are Indigenous. Are you including Metis in your ‘estimates’? And they are not just like the rest of us!

biff

all our issues boil down to human issues; they are not just in various vacuums affecting this or that group. i agree that grouping is utterly divisive. i believe that we are each entitled to be free: to be, to think, and to express ourselves as we wish to explore – but always limited by the rights of others

biff

there is always the white elephant that lined pockets, where our city buses convene. each unused parking stall could be made into micro shelters…that would provide a roof for so very many, seeing as the “parkade” is barely used.
geez, that leads me to another question: why is no one driving their car downtown to park at the parkade all day, and then taking city buses to their destinations?

Old School

I find the analysis rather amusing especially Spearmans Contribution. If the Crime Index was composed of different criterian, ie number of dill pickles and hot dogs being grown. Then Lethbridge would likely be in the bottom one percentile and a city heavily growing both dill pickles and hot dogs would be screaming a bias and that the numbers are not a fair assessment of cities.
The crime index looks at specific criterion. That criterion puts us as Number 1 or worst city in Canada based on the assessment.
Spearman then says, this does not consider RCMP policed cities and ergo if it had we would NOT be number 1?????? Well, this is not part of the criteria or the measure. So what exactly is this saying, pretty simple really. Out of ALL the City Employed Police Forces in Canada we are the WORST for Crime per 100K residents.
The Chief then pipes up, but things are getting better, they are better than last year. Yes, they probably are, SCS was closed now for 1 year so just the mere fact we are not enabling users and creating Clubhouses, I am sure we have less drug users and drug associated crime, but he too misses the point.
The Chief admits that crime dropped across the nation last year and so the drop we saw was likely for the same reason, and that was more people were home because of COVID so there were less opportunities to steal personal property.
Just because you don’t like how they measure things, or that you have seen a slight decrease in crime does not mean you are winning unless you measure against a stable comparator. In this case the only stable comparator is to ALL the other cities that are not NUMBER 1 on the list, which means “WE are Number 1 for a reason”!
Hopefully a new Mayor and Council will understand that if you treat the people that are creating the crime as “Respected Citizens” as the Past Mayor and Council then you will remain Number 1. Hopefully a new Mayor and Council will understand that if you describe drug addicts as Homeless without understanding why they are homeless (they spend all their money on drugs and live off handouts) then we will remain number 1. Hopefully the new Mayor and Council realize that the more services you provide Addicts, the more addicts will move here from Blood/Kainai and elsewhere. Hopefully the new Mayor and Council realize that continuing on this way has nothing but DTES Vancouver written all over it.
I have been writing this Paper since the stupidity of SCS arose. I predicted accurately the rise in Addicts, almost perfectly. Predicted the rise in Crime perfectly and forecasted 3 years before reaching number 1 on the Crime Index, that we would be number 1.
How? Certainly not because I am a mystic, a guru, a Swami, a Magician, I had experience of watching the same stupid decisions made by about 30 cities, for 40 years ago, that this Council/Mayor duplicated or “let happen” in the last 4.
The results were identical to all the other cities. Those that chose to “save the addict” when the addict has no interest in being saved, led their areas in offered assistance. That assistance was aided by other surrounding towns/cities shipping their addicts off to the do-gooders of this city.
Suddenly crime skyrockets, drug dealers, and the infrastructure to support the trade of drugs moves in. We now see the results of people that consider Addicts as respected homeless citizens. You get Petty Theft and B&Es until there is nothing left to steal. Once everything is stolen then I think the Chief may be right in forecasting a downtrend but not until then.
The next move by the NEW Council/Mayor are very important. Allow the Provincial Gov to put money into this city and not others, that surround us, allows the Prov Gov to pick which city it wants to destroy first! With the NDP moving back in, in a year, watch Phillips because she has a religious like mission to “save the addict” and ensure Lethbridge’s demise. Kelowna is having a fight now with the BC Gov. BC Gov wants to house everyone with low income rentals, nothing wrong with that except that no other place near Kelowna was getting the numbers of Gov Rentals so, the addicts flocked to Kelowna to get a free place to live while they rob there “new fellow residents” and spend the money on their habit.
So the Next Council and the Next Mayor get to pick if we become the” Hell hole of Southern Alberta” or not! The Chief can flower it up if he wishes but in the end Council/NDP can shaft him in his job so easily its ridiculous. But, residents are finally waking up, and are now watching.
Fair Warning- watch what you say and what you think you will do as New Council and Mayor because if you think you have to fall in with the Nutbars that want to kill this city, you will have opposition.
Killing this city to cater to less than 3% of the population will now be opposed by the ratepaying 97%!

Last edited 1 month ago by Old School
pursuit diver

No disrespect Dennis, just a quick fact check that the SCS closed only one year ago, at the end of August 2020 or in September, but is hasn’t been a year yet! I do have faith in what the new Chief of Police is doing and I am confident he will be great for this city!
As for the rest, they are solid points! And I know you were there, as a warrior to support downtown business, when governments turned their back on the citizens of this city, fighting to have the SCS shut down.
You made valid points then as you do now! But, no one seems to listen! Maybe the new Council will pass Bylaws on vagrancy that will end our parks being taken over by addicts! There are only about 150 these trouble makers, yet we allow the “tail to wag the dog”, costing the city taxpayers alone, millions per year. 150 people costing us millions each year!

Old School

corrected, thanks ,COVID lockdowns disjointed time on me. This past year seems like 2

Last edited 1 month ago by Old School
pursuit diver

HUA – We are all tired of this but it was a wake-up call, showing us just how spoiled we have been in this country! Better we went through it in this country. Rest assured, there has been a noticeable change on the streets since it closed and I have had several conversations with this Chief and I have faith that he will be good for this city. Remember he walked into a mess, much of which people knew nothing about and partly because there hasn’t been leadership at the top for some time.
For me, I am willing to give him time and I am proven right!

Learjet

Absolutely awesome reporting on the Liberal/NDP created fiasco. The only point I would quibble about is the size of the cancer: By my research we are only talking about maybe 1,500 persons or 1.5% of the population. The damage is still the same.

pursuit diver

1,500 persons – sorry but there are only about 125-150 people creating all of the problems, but that will increase if we supply them with more housing or a larger shelter. We need to reduce the size of the shelter while enforcing new bylaws we need stop vagrancy and loitering. The word will get out and they will flock to Lethbridge. You may need to do more research.

Learjet

Apparently, if Mayor Needleman’s comments are to be taken at face value, all Lethbridge has to do to look better in the eyes of the world is switch from a Municipal Police force to the RCMP. I guess that’s better than actually doing something.

pursuit diver

Let’s be very clear – those crime stats collected were not in the last 6 months! Anyone that keeps in knowledge of what is going on in this city understands that crime is down, more than stated in the report, because it is dated.

Old School

Crime is down everywhere, in the last 8 months. The last 8 months contains 4 months of winter, COVID lockdowns, and the majority of crime is quelled by cold weather. Add to this the excessive heat of July and crime will be down, but it will also be down in the cities we are compared too because they have had a heat wave as well. Things always average out.

Last edited 1 month ago by Old School
biff

we’re number 1! the north battlefords and price ruperts of canada are on notice!



18
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x