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Crime dips in Brandon, but overall more violent

BPS chief Ian Grant speaks inside the Brandon police service in this file photo.

GRAEME BRUCE / BRANDON SUN Enlarge Image

BPS chief Ian Grant speaks inside the Brandon police service in this file photo.

By nearly all meaasures there were fewer crimes in Brandon last year, fewer criminals and fewer charges laid, but Statistics Canada says that violent crimes were more severe.

The latest data, released Wednesday, showed that Brandon's crime severity index was 81.43 in 2013.

That's down nearly four per cent from the year before and is the second-lowest mark recorded in Brandon since 1998, the earliest year for which data is available. Brandon's crime severity peaked in 2003, when it hit 170.49, before dropping dramatically to a low of 76.96 in 2011.

The crime severity index is pegged to the national average level in 2006, which is given a value of 100.

The raw numbers show that the number of reported incidents is down in Brandon, despite the city's growing population. Police investigated 3,748 incidents last year — the lowest number recorded since 1998 and down more than 600 since the year before. The number of incidents reported also peaked in 2003, when there were 6,907 reported.

The decline is even more dramatic when adjusted to a rate per 100,000 population. Brandon's rate of 7,783.85 per 100,000 is down nearly 15 per cent from the year before and a stunning 53.5 per cent since it peaked in 2003.

However, the news isn't all good: Violent crime is on the rise, with Brandon's violent crime severity index up to 101.1 in 2013. That's a 14 per cent spike since 2012, when the number was 88.67 and more than 25 per cent higher than 2011, when the violent crime severity index notched a modern low of 79.34 in Brandon.

When it comes to laying charges, there are fewer of them to go around. Police charged just 981 adults last year — the first time in at least 15 years that fewer than 1,000 adults faced charged.

More kids are ending up in court, however. Police laid charges against 382 youth in 2013. That's about 70 more than the year before and more than double the 174 kids who faced charges in 2010. But it's a far cry frm the 960 youth who faced a judge in 2002.

On all of the 2013 measures, Brandon is doing better than the rest of the province, where index numbers are somewhat higher; however the city lags behind national averages.

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