In 2016, after two years of consecutive increases, B.C.’s crime rate decreased; it went down by 0.9% in 2016, from 78.1 to 77.4 offences per 1,000 population.
B.C.’s overall Crime Severity Index (CSI) value for 2016 is 93.6, 0.7% lower than B.C.’s 2015 CSI of 94.3, but 31.9% higher than the national CSI of 71.0 (+1.2%). This decrease in B.C.’s overall CSI was driven primarily by decreases in the number of breaking and entering offences (-315) and robbery offences (-689).
The number of violent offences in B.C. decreased by 4.9% in 2016, with a 6.1% decrease in the violent crime rate (from 12.1 violent offences per 1,000 population in 2015 to 11.4 in 2016); this is the lowest B.C.’s violent crime rate has been since at least 1998.
There were 2,786 fewer violent offences recorded in B.C. in 2016, with the largest decreases being physical assaults (-1,660), uttering threats (-764), robbery (-689), and criminal harassment (-334), and the largest increase being indecent or harassing communications (+568).
The violent CSI lists a value of 74.9 for B.C. in 2016, 9.8% lower than 83.0 the previous year and lower than the national violent CSI (75.3, +0.3%) for the first time on record. The drop in B.C.’s violent CSI in 2016 was driven primarily by changes in its robbery rate, which decreased 19.9%.
A total of 87 homicides were reported in B.C. in 2016, 10 fewer than the 97 reported the previous year, resulting in an 11.4% decrease in the homicide rate. There were also 114 attempted murders, 15 fewer than in 2015, resulting in a 12.7% decrease in the attempted-murder rate. In contrast, there were 181 more sexual-assault offences (including sexual violations against children) in 2016, for a total of 3,125, resulting in a 4.8% increase in B.C.’s sexual-assault rate.
Property offences in B.C. increased by 2.1% in 2016, resulting in a 0.9% increase in the property crime rate, from 49.6 property offences per 1,000 population in 2015 to 50.0 in 2016.
The non-violent CSI lists a value of 100.3 for B.C. in 2016, a 2.1% increase from 98.2 the previous year and 44.8% higher than the national non-violent CSI of 69.3 (+1.6%).
There was a 1.3% decrease in B.C.’s total number of other offences in 2016, resulting in a 2.5% decrease in the other crime rate to 16.0 offences per 1,000 population. While B.C. recorded a 71.4% (+1,148) increase in the possession or distribution of child pornography in 2016, this can at least partially be attributed to the proactive efforts of B.C.’s Integrated Child Exploitation (ICE) Unit, which targets people accessing child pornography online.
The number of drug offences in B.C. decreased by 2.8% in 2016, driven primarily by an 11.5% decrease in the number of CDSA offences related to cannabis and a 3% decrease in cocaine-related offences. However, the number of other drug-related offences, a category which includes heroin, methamphetamines (e.g. “crystal meth”), and the illicit use of prescription drugs such as fentanyl, increased 18.6%.
The B.C. youth CSI dropped 9.2% in 2016 to 35.7 from 39.3 in 2015, 40.6% lower than the national youth CSI of 60.1 (-2.0%).
Police in B.C. reported having cleared 27.6% of all offences in 2016; 57.8% of all violent offences were cleared, as were 13.5% of all property offences and 50% of all other offences. All of these clearance rates increased when compared to 2015, but all are also still below the national averages.