Our community feels safe, compared to many other places in Canada, not to mention the rest of the world. The low local crime rate supports our sense of well-being. Our preparations for emergencies and the knowledge that we can rely on our neighbours contribute to a solid sense of security.
Overall Crime Severity
The overall crime severity index (which measures both the number and seriousness of the violations) for Powell River in 2014 was 62.66. This figure represents a small 4.3% increase from 2013, but a decrease of almost 20% from 2012. It is a 56.5% decrease from 1998, the earliest year for which data are available. Powell River’s 2014 overall crime severity index was lower than the figures for BC (91.6) and Canada (66.7).
In 2014, the drug crime rate for every 1,000 people in the region was 5.3, which is slightly higher than the BC rate of 5.19. From 2007-2012, the Powell River drug crime rate was lower than the BC rate, but for 2013 and 2014 the Powell River rate was higher than the BC rate. It is not clear whether this data indicate an upward trend. Since 2004, the number of youth involved in drug crimes in Powell River has bobbed up and down between 5 and 18 each year.
Violent and Non-violent Crime
In 2014, both the violent and non-violent crime severity indexes for Powell River dropped over 2012, although nonviolent crime saw a small up-tick in 2013. The 2014 index was 45.92 for violent and 68.62 for non-violent crimes, down from 61.62 for violent and 84.03 for non-violent crimes in 2012. Powell River’s indexes are much lower in three out of the four comparisons with BC and Canada. In 2014 the violent crime index was 77.0 in BC and 70.2 in Canada and the non-violent index was 96.8 in BC and 65.2 in Canada.
From 2006-2012, the number of fires per 1,000 persons in the City of Powell River was between 1 and 2.5. The average over the seven years is 1.5. Compared to other BC communities in the same size range (10,000-15,000 people) we do as well or better on average (2012 rates per 1,000 for Comox, Prince Rupert, Sooke and Whistler range between 0.1 and 3.5, with an average of 1.8). Communities of a similar size in the Interior have consistently higher rates of fires, perhaps due to the hotter and drier climate. The 2012 rates per 1,000 for Dawson Creek, Summerland, Terrace and Williams Lake range between 3.4 and 4.6, with an average of 3.8. This raises concerns that our warming, drying climate on the coast will push our fire rates higher than previously seen.
From the Youth Survey…
Are you concerned about drug and alcohol use among youth in Powell River?
While young people generally get tagged as being both reckless and free from the cares of responsibility, 76% of the young responders were quite or very concerned about drug and alcohol use among youth in Powell River, while 20% were not very concerned and only 4% didn’t care.
Emergency Preparedness Fair
In May 2015, Powell River Emergency Support Services arranged an Emergency Preparedness Fair with 37 groups and agencies, presentations, vendors and other offerings designed to help Powell River citizens become more prepared at home, school and work. Adults and children gathered information to take home, and participated in activities to help them plan ahead for possible emergencies and disasters.