New data indicates a rise in crime in Vernon last year, including a spike in violent offences.
According to Statistics Canada’s annual incident-based crime statistics released Thursday, Oct. 29, there were 7,484 police-reported violations in Vernon in 2019, representing a 31 per cent increase over the previous year.
The city’s violent crime rate saw a 46 per cent jump with 1,150 violations in 2019. That includes a 45 per cent rise in level 1 assault, an 85 per cent spike in level 1 sexual assault and a 37 per cent increase in assaults that involved a weapon or caused bodily harm.
Drug offences in the city went up 50 per cent, reaching 497 violations in 2019. The rates more than doubled for both possession and trafficking violations (excluding cocaine), with 288 possession violations and 128 trafficking violations last year.
Property crime violations totaled 4,144, up 24 per cent from 2018. Possession of stolen property represented the biggest increase in this category (125 per cent) with 169 violations last year.
Crime statistics in rural Vernon present a better picture with the 628 violations recorded in 2019, representing a 3.5 per cent rise. However, the rural area’s violent crime rate jumped 28 per cent, reaching 124 violations in 2019. That includes 31 incidents of indecent or harassing communications (up 155 per cent) and 36 cases of level 1 assault (up 11 per cent).
There were fewer instances of theft in rural Vernon in 2019, but also a 43 per cent increase in fraud. Instances of disturbing the peace doubled from 18 in 2018 to 36 in 2019, and the rate of Criminal Code traffic violations jumped 110 per cent with a total of 30 violations.