The City of Cold Lake has again been named as one of Canada’s Most Dangerous Places in 2020 by MacLean’s magazine on Tuesday but has fallen in other categories this year.
The MacLean’s ranking uses the Crime Severity Index (CSI) a Statistics Canada measure of all police-reported crime, which takes into consideration both the volume and seriousness of offences to list the dangerousness of communities.
The city ranked 33rd in violent crime, down from 15th on the list from last year.
Cold Lake ranked 3rd in cocaine trafficking across Canada only to North Battleford, Saskatchewan and Thompson, Manitoba and 19th in other drug trafficking.
“We’re not as high as we once were in terms of the numbers, but still above the Canadian average. It’s concerning,” said Mayor Craig Copeland.
“We are trending down on the violent crime. We didn’t have any murders. But it’s unfortunate that our assaults are still quite high. And it’s not surprising after hearing from the RCMP. Unfortunately, we were seeing a lot of sexual assaults and assaults in our community. And so that’s keeping us up high on this ranking list,” he said.
Under all crime, Cold Lake was 27th, 32nd in assault and 44th in sexual assault.
In other categories, Cold Lake ranked 22nd in impaired driving, 30th in gun offences, 34th in robbery, and 44th in break and enters.
Cold Lake was 75th in the five year change in crime severity index.
“We funded more police for the undercover work and now the fruits of their labour is uncovering more arrests and more people are getting charged than if we don’t have the RCMP focused on that…let’s give the credit to the RCMP. They’re doing great police work out there. I think a lot of the public are helping provide information to the RCMP, but it’s unfortunate to see a lot of drug trafficking and cocaine is a drug of choice,” said Copeland.
City council saw the recent quarterly crime numbers from the RCMP last week and break and enters, theft under $5000 and mischief continue at steady rates.
“I think the justice system has to step in here and account for the rise in crime and how they’re going to deal with the catch and release program that has been labeled right now.”
The 2018 data, the most current available, was released July 23, 2019.