With a population of just over 100,000 people, Red Deer is a city in Alberta, Canada. Recorded to have the highest crime levels amongst all the Canadian cities in over a decade, the city is enduring a problem that’s a production of people coming from other parts of Canada.
Ken Foster, Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Superintendent highlighted several reasons for high crime rates and crime severity in Red Deer. He described it as a boom-and-bust type of area.
He said that the city “attracts a large number of workers from all across Canada” and also from “other parts of the world.” He also pointed out to the population growth, and that “a lot of that population growth is a young male population.”
He also added that if seen statistically, the “young males commit more crimes than any other demographic”
The demographics of the community are tied to an economy, which is driven by oilfield activity and oil services. Foster says that when such an economy slows down, the people who became habitual to a lifestyle of making lots of money, seriously get affected.
Besides, economic slowdown can also effect the drug users and people that are addicted to certain things. Foster noted that “Addictions don’t get a pink slip.”
The recent dip in oil prices hit Red Deer “probably the hardest” amongst other communities of Alberta. The crime rate after that went up as much as it did with the recession of 2008. Forster said that with an opioid crisis, it becomes a “perfect storm.”
The police-reported crime statistics for 2017 were released last week by Statistics Canada. The report revealed that RCMP detachment of Red Deer recorded a crime severity index (CSI) of 221.56, which is more than any other police department in major Canadian city.
CSI is a tool that is used to measure police-reported crime across Canada. It is standardized to 100 in Canada, just like the Consumer Price Index, and takes 2006 as a base year. However, it doesn’t necessarily covers majority of the crime happening in a city.
Red Deer ranked first among cities with a population of 100,000 or more in 2017. The statistics were made on the basis of numerous violations, including breaking and entering, fraud, motor vehicle theft, and weapons possession.
The CSI score of Red Deer was largely driven by property crime. Besides, breaking and entering made up the greatest share with 22.3 per cent. At a score of 211, break-and-enter incidents were 1,463 in 2017.
The escalating crime levels in Canada can be attributed to several ideas. While some consider that economic downturns influence it, others also blame it on the city’s population. Amanda McCormick, director of the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of the Fraser Valley, said that stress of loss of income can also result in violence against others.