Guelph’s Crime Severity Rate Drops Again in Most Areas in 2021

Recent discussions around homelessness and mental health issues in the downtown core have focused occasionally on petty crime. Combined with a recent murder investigation in the area around the Speed River behind Wellington Plaza, it seems like crime is becoming something that Guelphites are more and more accustomed to, but the statistics are telling a slightly different story.

According to the Canadian Centre for Justice and Community Safety Initiatives through Statistics Canada, there was an eight per cent reduction in the total crime severity index (CSI) in Guelph in 2021. Also, there was a 22 per cent decrease in the violent crime severity and a two per cent increase in the non-violent crime severity index.

While the CSI for Guelph has gone up 22 per cent over the last 10 years, the 2021 decrease represents the third year in the row that the CSI has gone down since peaking in 2018. The 2021 CSI for violent crime in Guelph was also the second lowest in the country, and Calgary was the only municipality to have a greater overall decrease in the CSI last year.

“The significant growth of our service over the last two years has assisted us in achieving these results in cooperation with our community partners,” said Guelph Police Chief Gord Cobey in a media statement.

“While we are certainly pleased with these improvements in our Crime Severity Index, the data continues to indicate that as one of the fastest-growing communities in Ontario we must continue to ensure proactive investment to sustain these improvements, support the wellness of our members and ensure our community remains safe, healthy and future-ready.”

In other words, there are places where Guelph has room for improvement. while robberies went down 35 per cent and cases of fraud went down eight per cent, motor vehicle thefts increased 13 per cent and shoplifting offences $5,000 and under increased 33 per cent. Break and enters increased by two per cent and reports of uttering threats went up three per cent.

“With this in mind we will continue to work very hard with our Guelph Police Services Board and our community partners to ensure our service continues to grow to support the community and our members,” Cobey added.

In Ontario the total CSI only went up one per cent in 2021, but it’s down eight per cent overall for the past 10 years. There was a four per cent increase in the violent CSI while there was no change in the non-violent CSI thanks to a decrease in instances of breaking and entering that was offset by an increase in theft of motor vehicle, shoplifting of $5,000 or under and child pornography.

Across Canada, there was a slight decrease in the total CSI from 73.9 in 2020 to 73.7 in 2021. There was a seven per cent drop in 2020, which was a big shift after the preceding five years where the CSI kept going up.

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