Measure Description

The Edmonton Crime Severity Index (CSI) measures the severity of crime in Edmonton. Developed by Statistics Canada, the CSI accounts for both the volume of crime occurring and the relative severity of these crimes, as well as factoring for growth in a City’s population. Every criminal code violation is assigned a numerical weight, set by Statistics Canada, so that serious crimes (e.g., homicide) have a larger impact on the CSI than less serious crimes (e.g., mischief). Raw crime data is collected by the Edmonton Police Service (EPS) and submitted to Statistics Canada for aggregation and calculation. One data limitation is that if people experience crime but do not report it, it will not be captured here. As crime is impacted by many factors, Edmonton Crime Severity Index is considered an indicator.

Measure Importance

This measure is valuable because it provides a standardized assessment of the severity of crime occurring in Edmonton, which is a core component of community safety. The CSI is comparable over time and across policing jurisdictions and regions. It is an enhancement compared to a traditional crime rate as it covers all types of criminal code violations and recognizes that not all crime is equal in terms of its impacts on victims and communities.

Historical Data

Data sources: 2010-2015 data: Statistics Canada, CANSIM table 252-0088. 2016 data: EPS in-house estimates following the CSI methodology used by Statistics Canada,and applying a 1.2 percent population growth in 2016. The 2016 result is an estimate – actual will be provided when data becomes available.

Explanation of Performance

CSI in 2017 was an estimated 124.2 points, a 5.6 percent increase from 2016. From 2004 to 2012, Edmonton’s CSI experienced annual reductions, falling 46 percent during that period. Since then, CSI has experienced persistent increases. While CSI is made up of 150+ Criminal Code of Canada offences, a select few have been identified as having the largest year-over-year impact on CSI:

• Break & Enter (+11%, +54% since 2012)
• Fail to Comply with Order (+24%, +102% since 2012)
• Obtaining Sexual Services for Consideration (+371%, +90% since 2012)
• Criminal Flight (+36%, +547% since 2012)
Although most criminal offences increased year-over-year, several did experience a reduction including:
• Trafficking Cocaine (-38%, -47% since 2012)
• Discharge Firearm with Intent (-58%, +75% since 2012)
• Possession of Weapons (-10%, +127% since 2012)

• Mischief (-3%, -0.3% since 2012)

Crime is impacted by a multitude of socio-economic factors. It is EPS’ position that the increase in crime over the last several years has in large part been driven by Alberta’s lingering economic recession. Crime levels in Edmonton experienced a significant rise in early 2015, coinciding with the sharp uptick in Alberta’s unemployment rate due to the collapse of oil prices. The deteriorating economy contributed to the rise in the financially motivated crime, (Edmonton’s property crime has increased 34 percent since 2014, while violent crime has only increased 16.7 percent). Rising crime has also occurred across Alberta, with Alberta’s CSI rising 17.7 percent from 2014-2016 (while Edmonton’s rose 20.4 percent).

Useful Links

More data on the Crime Severity Index for Edmonton or other Albertan municipalities is available at Statistics Canada, table 252-0088: http://www5.statcan.gc.ca/cansim/a26?lang=eng&retrLang=eng&id=2520088&&pattern=&stByVal=1&p1=1&p2=35&tabMode=dataTable&csid=

For information about the City's strategic plan, The Way Ahead: http://www.edmonton.ca/city_government/city_vision_and_strategic_plan/the-way-ahead.aspx