Dawson Creek had the highest rate of severe crime in the Peace Region last year, but overall crime in Northeast B.C. continues to decline.
That's according to Statistics Canada's annual index of police-reported crime statistics, released July 20.
The Mile Zero City had a crime severity index score of 179.35 in 2015, compared to Fort St. John's score of 165.46.
Statistics Canada calculates the severity of crime in an area based on police statistics adjusted for population. Violent crimes are given more weight in arriving at an overall score. It is not the same as a crime rate, which measures the volume of police-reported crime relative to population.
Dawson Creek and Fort St. John ranked 10th and 13th in Canada for crime severity, up from 18th and 17th place in 2014.
North Battleford, Sask., had Canada's highest crime severity score with 320.94, followed by Prince Albert, Sask. (235.32), Yellowknife (234.5) and Williams Lake (224.55). Grande Prairie ranked sixth with a score of 211.57.
2015 was a busy year for RCMP in Dawson Creek as the city experienced with an uptick in violence in the city's drug trade.
Some tied the spike in crime to a downturn in the economy, but RCMP it's hard to say for certain what was driving the increase.
Violent episodes in 2015 include the shooting of a man at a gravel pit outside town, a drive-by shooting at a Dawson Creek apartment building and a kidnapping incident where a man was beaten, pepper sprayed and stabbed in the legs.
According to reports to City Council, however, 2016 has been a slower year for the RCMP detachment, with fewer calls and an overall decrease in violence. The detachment that covers the rural areas around Dawson Creek, meanwhile, saw a 45 per cent spike in its crime severity index scores.
The index ranks both overall crime and violent crime. Fort St. John had a higher rate of violent crime than Dawson Creek last year, with an index score of 221.68 to 173.40.
Both cities saw year-to-year increases in overall crime severity. Crime severity increased around 30 per cent in Dawson Creek and 16.04 per cent in Fort St. John.
However, overall crime has been declining in the region since 1998. In that year Dawson Creek had a crime severity index score of 266.60, while Fort St. John was at 213.63.
Canada as a whole saw its first rise in police-reported crime in 12 years in 2015, according to Statistics Canada. The crime severity index increased five per cent from 2014 to 2015, but was 31 per cent lower than it was a decade ago.