Rates of severe and overall crimes in the London region jumped in 2016 by much more than the national average

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The London region’s rise in severe crime outpaced the Canada-wide average last year, just-released national numbers show.

Both the severe-crime and the overall-crime rates in the London area jumped by five per cent, according to Statistics Canada’s police-reported data for 2016.

The so-called “severe crime” rate/index is calculated with a formula that gives each offence a weight based incarceration rates. So the most egregious crimes, such as homicide, are given a greater weight.

The annual report, released Monday, shows severe crime rose 1 per cent nationally for the second straight year after declining for more than a decade.

The London area, which includes St. Thomas, Strathroy and surrounding OPP-policed municipalities, ranked 13th of 33 Canadian cities in terms of crime severity.

Topping the list for the third time in five years was Regina, followed by Saskatoon and Edmonton. Quebec City had the lowest level of severe crime, narrowly edging out Barrie.

Prior to last year, severe crime had been steadily declining in London since 2006.

Increases in homicides, sexual assaults and gun offences drove the 2016 increase, according to Statistics Canada data.

Statistics Canada calculates the crime severity index (CMI) by giving each offence a weight based on incarceration rates. So the most serious offences — crimes like homicide and sexual assault — are given a higher value. The weighted offences are added up and then divided by the population, resulting in a score that’s standardized to 100.

“The crime severity index tells you a little more. It tells you how severe the (crime) is,” said Warren Silver of the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics.

The crime rate measures the number of offences compared to the population.

dcarruthers@postmedia.com

twitter.com/DaleatLFPress


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