Amherstburg three-peats as “Safest Community in Canada”


By Ron Giofu

(Photo courtesy of Amherstburg Police Services)


Amherstburg has three-peated as the safest community in Canada.

Safest townThe 2012 crime severity index has been published by Statistics Canada with Amherstburg’s index checking in at 16.85, the lowest of the Canadian communities with a population over 10,000.

Police Chief Tim Berthiaume said the service is pleased with the numbers but no one is resting on their laurels.

“We’re all pretty happy,” he said.

Berthiaume noted Amherstburg was comfortably ahead of second-place finisher Northumberland as the Hamilton-area municipality’s index registered at 22.36.

The reason Amherstburg is a safe community can’t be attributed to one factor, the chief believed.

“I think it’s a combination of factors,” said Berthiaume.

Factors include the work of the officers with the Amherstburg Police Service, the community for contacting police and co-operating with them during investigations and crime abatement strategies that include direct patrols in problem areas.

“There isn’t any one thing you can attribute the success to,” said Berthiaume. “It’s a combination of all those factors.”

Berthiaume said he is proud of the officers with Amherstburg police.

“I have a lot of pride in the men and women who work here,” he said. “It’s also a cautious pride. When you hold the number one position, there is nowhere to go but down.”

A review of statistics from the first half of 2013 makes Berthiaume wonder if Amherstburg will achieve that ranking for the fourth straight year.

“I don’t know how long we can hold the number one ranking,” he said. “Assaults are up by 50 per cent in the first half of the year. There have been an increase in break-and-enters and mischief complaints. We’re still going to be one of the safest communities in Canada but I’m not sure how long we can hold the number one spot for.”

Berthiaume added that “we’ll take the boasting rights as long as we can get them.” He noted he has received a lot of congratulatory calls but reminds people the ranking is due to a number of factors.

“These statistics only prove what I’ve known for many years,” the chief continued. “Amherstburg is a great place to live in, work in and visit. People should feel good about this rating. Everyone should feel proud of this rating.”

That said, the public still needs to take measures to protect themselves and their property.

“I still encourage everyone to practice personal safety techniques like locking their car doors, making sure the front and back of their homes are well lit and to lock their residences when they are not going to be there,” said Berthiaume. “Because we are the safest town doesn’t mean we don’t have crime. We do have crime. We all have to keep working together to keep the crime rate low.”

Amherstburg isn’t the only Essex County municipality with a top 25 ranking. LaSalle ranked third while Tecumseh came in fourth. Lakeshore had the eighth best ranking while Kingsville’s crime severity index ranking was 15th best. Essex sat in the 22nd best ranking.

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