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TCAT fact check: Is Trail crime on the rise?

It is in the best interest of our community to offer services and support …

Submitted by Trail Community Action Team


We often hear, in conversation, in the media and on social media, that crime is on the rise not only in Trail but across B.C. and Canada.

We have dug into crime statistics from our local Trail RCMP and have found that overall, crime has been decreasing over the past five years in most categories.

From 2017 to 2022, the Greater Trail Area saw decreases in:

Auto-theft — down four per cent

Break and enters — down 42 per cent

Theft from motor vehicles — down 23 per cent

Files involving alcohol and drugs — down 40 per cent

Domestic violence files — down 31 per cent

While assaults increased slightly from 2021 to 2022, the RCMP expect that reflects a return to normal pre-pandemic levels, more than anything else.

As a point of comparison, the Prince George Citizen published a ranking of 20 communities in B.C. with the highest Crime Severity Index, according to Statistics Canada, and Trail wasn’t even on the list.

In fact, no communities from the Kootenays region made the top 20. (Prince George is B.C.’s crime capital, StatCan data shows, Jan. 11, 2023). The idea that crime is on the rise in our community just isn’t borne out by the facts.

If people are really concerned about crime, they need to consider its root causes.

Poverty is a key indicator of crime rates. In Canada, lower income neighborhoods are more likely to experience higher crime rates and report neighborhood disruptions.

In 2018, research found that over half of men who had been federally incarcerated that year were unemployed and without income.

A paper published in 2016 by the College of Family Physicians Canada revealed that most people who were incarcerated had experienced a lack of housing, limited education opportunities, high unemployment, mental health disorders and low income, at much greater rates than the general population. (Can Fam Physician. 2016 Mar; 62(3): 215–222)

Another stat that gets tossed around is how Trail’s homeless population is “through the roof,” worse than anywhere else.”

In fact, our rate of homelessness is quite a bit lower than in most other communities in B.C., and about one-third less than in Nelson. The difference between our town and Nelson is the lack of services people who are unhoused have in Trail.

They have very few options of places to go during the day, besides the streets and other public places.

Clearly, it is in the best interest of our community to offer services and support for anyone who needs it.

By investing in programs that empower people to learn and develop skills, improve their health outcomes, create connections, earn living wages and be sufficiently supported, we can make Trail a great place to live for everyone!

Submitted by the Trail Community Action Team.