The city's drop in Statistics Canada's crime severity index has left Prince George RCMP Supt. Eric Stubbs in an upbeat mood.
According to figures released last week, Prince George stood at 14th for crime in general and violent crime in particular in 2010, down from seventh and 11th respectively for 2010 out of 239 communities with populations of 10,000 people or greater.
Stubbs credited RCMP members' efforts combined with an array of crime reduction and prevention programs for the decline, noted the city's raw scores are the lowest they've been since the survey began in 1998.
Police have recently been busy dealing with a spike in break and enters of businesses and vehicles and gangs and guns remain an issue, Stubbs said.
The index takes the number of crimes committed in a year, applies a weight to the offence depending on the severity, and then takes total population into account to come up with a score. First and second degree murder are assigned a significantly heavier weighting than other types of offences, and the number of murders, as counted by Statistics Canada dropped noticeably from 10 in 2010 to 1 in 2011.
Those totals are at odds with Prince George RCMP records which showed seven murders in 2010 and none in 2011. In an e-mail to RCMP, a Statistics Canada official said that sometimes a homicide is brought to their attention in a different calendar year than the incident's date.
So far this year, there has been one murder within city limits - Jordan Christian Reno's body was found in a Hart home in May - while Frank William Edward Marion faces charges of manslaughter and criminal negligence causing death from a January house fire that killed Jagdev Singh Jawanda.
Going through an entire year without a murder is a rarity and the number can rise and fall from year to year, Stubbs said. But he also maintained RCMP members' actions have helped to keep the number down.
Stubbs predicted Prince George will no longer be branded Canada's Most Dangerous City in this year's survey of crime prevalence by Maclean's magazine.
Maclean's senior editor Ken MacQueen said he won't know how Prince George will do until the numbers have been crunched but did suggest the city will not grace the front cover.
"It really depends on the murder rate," he said. "No murders, or a lower rate, will cause a major plunge in Prince Georges ranking.