Prince Albert to receive Crime Severity Index rankings on Tuesday

Prince Albert to receive Crime Severity Index rankings on Tuesday -- Herald file photo.

The Prince Albert Police Service responded to a higher number of violent crimes during 2021 than previous years, according to the annual Crime Severity Index (CSI) values that will be released by the Canadian Centre for Justice and Community Safety Statistics (Stats Canada) on August 2. 

The values are based on both violent and non-violent police-reported data from roughly 300 communities across the country with core populations over 10,000. 

One of the biggest factors in determining the annual CSI rankings is the community’s core census population, which most recent Census figures show is just over 37,700 in Prince Albert for 2021. 

The annual rankings are based on the ratio of crime versus the core population for a community, but PAPS polices a much larger population than census figures show.

Prince Albert’s retail population, the number of people who come to the community for services, medical appointments or entertainment, is actually closer to 190,000 people. 

This results in a higher number of calls for service each year, but is not factored into the community’s population size when determining CSI rankings. In comparison to communities of similar size, they respond to a much higher number of calls on average. 

Due to the continued impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021, the community experienced an upward trend in violence and property crime.

A look at previous year’s statistics shows violent crime has consistently been trending higher in Prince Albert, a trend also being seen in other communities across our province and western Canada. 

PAPS continues to investigate more files each year involving guns, weapons, drugs and violence given the core population numbers for the city. 

“We continue to work toward targeted enforcement of all crime, including weapons violence, drugs and property crime, while also focusing on addressing root-cause issues that often lead to violent crime,” reads a media release from the Prince Albert Police Service. 

“We continue to target illegal activity, gang activity, weapons and drug trafficking, and abuse against children through targeted enforcement units and partnerships with other agencies.”

The Prince Albert Police Service’s daily crime trends are monitored by Police Records Management Controllers (PRMC) and an analyst who reviews data in real-time to assist in coordinating enforcement efforts and targeted policing initiatives. 

PAPS has dedicated teams focused on targeted enforcement of drugs, violence and weapons crime, property crime, and illegal gang activity, including the Crime Reduction Team (CRT), the Criminal Investigation Division (CID), Canine Section, Police and Crisis Team (PACT), SWAT and Patrol. 

“Proactive policing is a priority and our Proactive Policing Unit, Community Policing Unit, Community Safety Officers, Traffic and CTSS teams are focused on high-visibility patrols and proactive engagement across our community,” reads the media release.

Members with the Prince Albert Police Service’s Victim Services Unit (VSU), including the Indigenous Resource Officer and Missing Persons Liaison, continue to assist individuals and families affected by crime by connecting them with counselling and other support services, and information about the court process. 

The police service is also actively engaged with the HUB program, working with other agencies in health, education and government, to support youth and individuals as they work to lead healthier lifestyles. 

“Our police services is guided by the Prince Albert Board of Police Commissioners on this mandate,” said the media release. “Which includes representatives from a wide range of backgrounds and expertise, including education, business, corrections, the Prince Albert Grand Council and the Indian & Metis Friendship Centre.”

“The Prince Albert Police Service remains committed to engaging with community partners, local advocates, victims of crime and their families, to support healthier lifestyles and programs aimed at addictions treatment, mental health services, housing and emergency support for vulnerable residents.”