Essex County has five of the country’s 10 safest cities, 2011 crime statistics show.
According to Statistic Canada’s crime severity index, Amherstburg is the safest community in Canada followed by LaSalle. Tecumseh and Lakeshore are fourth and fifth respectively and Kingsville is tenth. Essex is 15th and Leamington shot up to 36th from 77th. Windsor is the only community that declined in the rankings. It was 149th out of 239 communities with populations of more than 10,000 people. Last year it was 144th.
The crime severity index analyzes crime statistics from communities and looks at volume of crimes as well as the severity of crimes committed. More violent crimes are given heavier weight. The seriousness of a crime can be determined by the sentence given the offender. More serious offences have a greater impact on the index, reports Statistics Canada.
Amherstburg and LaSalle have crime, it’s just not as violent as elsewhere. Neither community has had a murder in more than 13 years. The town police chiefs commend residents for making the two communities such a safe place to live.
“The people living here are warm,” LaSalle Police Chief John Leontowicz said. “They are more kind and generous people. There is just not a lot of bad people. If there are, we are scaring them away.”
Amherstburg Police Chief Tim Berthiaume said residents don’t tolerate crime.
“It’s a small town,” he said. “People report strangers in their neighbourhood. They report suspicious activity.”
Both police forces focus on community policing and interacting with youth and business leaders. Amherstburg has a police chief’s advisory council made up of residents who give feedback to Berthiaume about police performance. LaSalle maintains a constant presence throughout the town.