Reported crime in Regina rose slightly last year from 2020, but the number of homicides hit its highest level in more than a decade.
On Tuesday, Regina’s Board of Police Commissioners will review 2021 crime statistics, which indicate the pandemic continues to impact crime trends in the city.
“Regina faced another year of waves of COVID-19 with vaccine advances, periodic restrictions and uncertainties remaining,” the Regina Police Service (RPS) said in its report.
“Whether Regina’s crime rate will return to pre-COVID levels or continue to evolve into a new environment remains unanswered.”
Last year, police counted 18,552 reported crimes in Regina, an increase of 3% from 2020. The number of pre-pandemic crimes in 2019 was 24,650, according to police.
Crimes against persons, crimes against property and other Criminal Code offenses are included in these figures. Traffic and narcotics offenses are not.
Crimes against persons, crimes against property and other criminal code offenses all rose 2% from the previous year, RPS said.
The year-end crime statistics cannot be compared to other Canadian cities because different jurisdictions may use different reporting methodologies or criteria, police said.
15 homicide cases in 2021
The number of homicides in Regina soared in 2021 to its highest level in more than a decade, police said.
Police investigated 15 homicides in the city last year, four more than in 2020.
The victims in 2021 ranged in age from two to 52. The majority of them were men, four of whom were women, according to the report.
Police said 11 of the homicides appeared to be linked to so-called risk factors such as illegal activity, drug dealing and association with gangs.
While the number of homicides increased in 2021, the number of attempted murders fell to 20 last year from 26 in 2020. Over the past nine years, 2019 saw the most attempted murders, officers investigating 39.
Overall, homicides and attempted murders have more than doubled since 2012, police said.
The number of reported sexual assaults has increased by 70% since 2012
Officers saw a 4% increase in all reported assaults in 2021 compared to 2020, but the total appears to have remained relatively constant over the past 10 years.
However, the number of reported sexual assaults jumped 70% from 2012 statistics, police said.
People reported 207 sexual assaults in 2021, an increase of 7% from 2020, according to the report. There were 122 reported in 2012.
The number of recorded thefts fell by 3% in 2021. Police said they counted 266 thefts last year.
Despite the overall downward trend, robberies at businesses such as convenience stores, gas stations, and cigarette, marijuana, and liquor stores have increased.
Officers saw an increase in reported arson attacks over the past year, with 315 in 2021 compared to 247 in 2020. The average from 2012 to 2020 was 133, police said.
“According to the Arson Investigator, individuals breaking into abandoned homes and setting fires to stay warm or potentially deliberately starting them was a trend in 2021,” police said.
“Many of these events appeared to be related to homelessness and substance abuse. In some cases, the same addresses were burned down multiple times.”