Prince George has dropped noticeably in a national ranking of violent crime.
After finishing seventh in 2010, the city fell to 14th spot for 2011, according to the rankings of crime severity released this week by Statistics Canada, although there remains plenty of room for improvement as that's out of 239 Canadian communities with at least 10,000 people.
The rankings are based on the prevalence per capita of a long list of police-reported crimes, each given a weight with first and second degree murder holding the heaviest emphasis. From 10 murders of both types in 2010, the total dropped to just one in 2011 according to the survey.
But other types of violent crime also took a tumble, notably assault with a weapon which declined 24.4 per cent to 255 incidents. although common assault rose by 6.2. per cent to 878.
Robberies decreased 17.47 per cent to 89 incidents and criminal harassment declined 34.2 per cent to 79 cases.
Sexual assault declined 4.8 per cent to 79 incidents while total sexual violations against children rose 55 per cent to 20 such cases.
Overall, it added up to a score of 158.15, a 19.55 per cent decline over the 2010 total for violent crime, which in turn was a 17.36-per-cent leap over 2009.
The city's score for non-violent crime also improved, declining 7.41 per cent to 159.98 as thefts of $5,000 and under fell 13.44 per cent to 2,442 and breaking and entering decreased 15.94 per cent to 669 incidents.
With the two categories combined, the score was 159.47, an 11.1-per cent drop. As well, the city's ranking on that basis fell back to 14th spot from 11th for 2010.
The outcome followed a nationwide trend, said Warren Silver, an analyst for the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, which carried out the study. He noted a six per cent decrease in crime severity across the country.
"Looking at your numbers, you've seen a larger decrease than across the country but previously Prince George had been higher than the Canadian average so you're coming more in line with that," Silver said.
Whether the drop is enough to knock Prince George off its pedestal as "Canada's Most Dangerous City," according to Maclean's magazine, remains to be seen but the study plays a significant role in the publication's rankings.
Macleans focuses on six of the most serious offences - homicide, sexual assault, aggravated assault, robbery, break-and-enter and auto theft - and compares the 100 biggest cities in Canada.
Prince George mayor Shari Green and Prince George RCMP declined to comment Thursday, saying they're looking at the numbers and will hold a press conference early next week. A request for comment from Maclean's was also answered.