Estevan Police Service Chief Rich Lowen is happy, overall, with how Estevan scored on Statistics Canada's Crime Severity Index for 2021.

The annual report listed the municipality as decreasing from 109.96 in 2020 to 91.13 in 2021 in the combined rating for violent and non-violent police-reported crime.

Violent and non-violent crime ratings swung in opposite directions, however.

The violent crime severity index rose from 82.10 to 155.06 (an 88.87-per-cent increase). But the non-violent crime severity index fell from 119.72 to 67.92 (a decrease of 43.27 per cent).

A head shot of Rich Lowen

Lowen said he was glad to see the overall score fall by around 19 points, as it dropped Estevan from the 52nd-highest index on the list to the 68th.

Though he said the violent crime rate figures can be misleading.

"When you have one homicide in a community that hasn't had a homicide in seven years, it drives a big number up."

Lowen was referring to the alleged murder in June, 2021 of Angelo Galido.

"In a community where events are not as frequent as a large urban centre, one event can really skew your percentage," said Lowen. "So really you'd have to compare it to ourselves year after year. That's probably the best way to look at it."

He said the reduced non-violent crime severity index was also expected, as COVID-19 restrictions caused people to act differently.

"Going through 2021 with a pandemic year, it's not surprising that we've dropped substantially. The way people have interacted in the community has changed. People are at home. You don't have as many break-ins when people are at home."

Lowen said the Statistics Canada figures are just one way to look at crime in a community.

"What we focus on is our own statistics gathered within the community. Everything from property to crimes against persons. We watch those and we average them out over five-year periods. So we're not specifically reacting from a spike in one thing over one month. We always want to make sure we're reacting in accordance with what's happening within a community."

The CSI weigh more serious crimes heavier than less serious offences. Lethbridge had the country's highest CSI, at 128.7 - its third year in a row atop the list.

Regina paced the country's census metropolitan area with a homicide rate of 5.67 homicides per 100,000 people. Saskatchewan had the country's highest provincial homicide rate, at 5.93 per 100,000 people.