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Langley City takes brunt of regional crime, statistics show

Regional commercial hubs like Langley City often see higher crime rates
A Langley RCMP officer in Langley City in 2019. Langley City has a much higher crime severity index than the surrounding Township, but geography may play a key role, according to Statistics Canada. (Langley Advance Times file)

Geography and Langley City’s status as a commercial core may play a role in the fact that its crime severity index rating is more than twice as high as the rate in the Township, according to Statistics Canada.

StatCan publishes a Crime Severity Index for most medium-sized and large communities annually. The severity index isn’t a simple crime rate or number of crimes. The number is weighted based on the seriousness of the crimes, so that murder or assault has more “weight,” and results in a higher number, than less-serious crimes like theft or vandalism.

The severity index in Langley City in 2021 was 199.44, up from 175.8 the year before.

Langley Township, meanwhile, had a crime severity index of 78.02, a decrease from 84.84 the year before, and the lowest level in several years.

The average B.C. crime severity rate was 92.86, down from 97.35 the previous year.

Violent crime has its own severity index, and Langley City’s rate was 184.23, the highest rate in the last five years, and up more than 56 per cent from 117.38 in 2020.

The Township’s violent crime severity ranking was 79.77, up from 76 the year before, and is also the highest in the last five years, although the change is considerably smaller.

Statistics Canada noted that it is not unusual for a municipality that is “a geographical area that provides commercial businesses, human or public services, or entertainment for many people” from the surrounding area to have a high crime rate or crime severity index.

These areas have large “part-time” or temporary populations who don’t count in their population bases, which affects the way crime rates are calculated.

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Langley City has considerably more restaurants, bars, motels, social services, and commercial districts per capita than the Township, which brings people into the community from Langley Township, Surrey, and other areas.

The B.C. violent crime severity index ranking was 95.16, a slight increase on the 91.22 of the previous year.

Provincially, a bright spot is the drop in youth crime severity and youth violent crime severity in B.C.

Non-violent youth crime was ranked at 18.96, while violent youth crime was ranked at 38.24. Both rankings were at their lowest levels within the last five years.

Localized numbers for youth crime severity were not available in Langley City or Township.

Across Canada, there were 788 murders in 2021, 29 more than in the previous year. Of those, 297 were gun-related killings, and 46 per cent of firearms killings were believed to be gang related.

Violent crime severity rates rose as more sexual assaults were reported, while non-violent crime severity rates fell, with thefts and break ins down.

Nationwide, crime rates in Canada peaked in the early to mid-1990s, and then entered a decades-long decline. Around 2014, crime rates began increasing again, but are still not at the peaks seen in the late 1980s to early 1990s.

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Matthew Claxton

About the Author: Matthew Claxton

Raised in Langley, as a journalist today I focus on local politics, crime and homelessness.
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