Halton ranked safest regional municipality in Canada with a population of over 100,000

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  July 27, 2012  Based on federal government statistics, the Region of Halton is the safest place to be in all of Canada when compared to other cities with the same 100,000 or more population.

The Region is using the Statistics Canada’s 2011 Crime Severity Index released earlier this week.

According to the report, when compared to the 49 communities with populations greater than 100,000 across Canada, Halton has:

The lowest overall Crime Severity Index (33.6 in 2011, down from  37.0 in 2010);

The lowest Non-Violent Crime Severity Index (35.7 in 2011 down from 40.0 in 2010), and

The second lowest Violent Crime Severity Index (28.2 in 2011 compared to 28.0 in 2010).

Halton’s lower index values are consistent with crime trends across Canada, as Statistics Canada reported that the overall national Crime Severity Index was the lowest it has been in 40 years.

“These latest figures from Statistics Canada speak volumes about the effective partnership between our Service and the community to prevent, deter and reduce crime,” said Acting Chief Andrew Fletcher.  “It is an honour to have our Maclean’s magazine ranking as the safest regional municipality in Canada be confirmed by hard crime data provided by every police service in the nation.”

Statistics Canada introduced the Crime Severity Index in 2009 as a measure of severity of crimes committed in Canada.  Crimes are assigned “seriousness weights” which are determined by the number of people convicted of the crime who spend time in jail, and how much jail time those individuals serve. To calculate the Crime Severity Index, the number of incidents for each offence is multiplied by the weight of that offence.

Acting Chief Fletcher said that despite Halton’s low crime severity, there is always room for improvement.  In particular, he cited traffic safety, the victimization of seniors, youth crime, consumer fraud, and domestic violence as particular areas of focus for the Service.

While good police work is the biggest component of keeping a community safe, the demographic make up of the population plays a very large part as well.  Halton has some poverty and some ethnic diversity but nowhere near what the Region of Peel has nor anything close to the make-up of Metropolitan Toronto.

Stephen Tanner will get a new badge and a new office in September when he takes charge of the Halton Regional Police Service.

Halton is a very easy part of the province to be a police officer in – traffic is close to the biggest problem we have to deal with.  So while the statistics are good – they should be.

We have a new police chief taking office in September.  Stephen J. Tanner gets his new badge early in September.  Is there any major work to be done to whip the Halton Police Service into shape?  Is there anything pressing that needs immediate attention?  Is he going to be asked to come up with a budget that requires a little less than the HRPS has been spending in the past?

This posting is going to be a pretty easy gig for Tanner.  The statistics should be about the same in 2012 and for a number of years out into the future.

“Statistics don’t always reflect the very real impact crime has on people in our community every day. That’s why as a Service, we don’t simply rely on the numbers, but rather we focus on building positive relationships with the people we serve as one of the best indicators of how well we are serving this community.”

That`s a decent quote; says the right thing, leaves the right tone.  Not sure what it means.



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