Regina and Saskatoon are again one and two among major Canadian cities on Statistics Canada’s crime severity rankings, and Saskatchewan is again leading among the provinces.

The statistical office released its annual report on crime in Canadian cities and provinces Monday.

Saskatchewan finished with a higher crime severity index than any other province in Canada last year. The province also had the highest crime rate among the provinces — at 11,746 incidents per 100,000 population — as well as the largest year-over-year rate increase for 2016.

Saskatchewan RCMP attribute the higher numbers to an increase in homicides in the province. The province’s 54 homicides in 2016 were 10 more than in 2015.

Regina and Saskatoon’s crime rates — at 9,253 and 8,942 per 100,000 population, respectively — finished above 31 other Canadian cities, and only Winnipeg showed a bigger jump in its crime rate last year. 

Both Saskatchewan cities also topped the crime severity index rankings. The two have each taken turns atop the rankings since 2010. The latest numbers place Regina at number one.

The Regina Police Service acknowledges 2016 was a bad year. The Queen City saw large jumps in violent crime, automobile theft and robberies, but police note the crime rate is still much lower than 10 years ago.

“2016 was a bad year in terms of firearms and firearm use,” Regina police Chief Evan Bray said at a news conference on Monday. “On the positive side of that, we also took a lot of firearms off the street in 2016. We laid a lot of firearm-related charges in 2016, which I think is a positive piece of the puzzle. That work continues today.”

Chief Bray said the city is also seeing a spike in property crime. He added that sprees, where one criminal commits 20 to 40 crimes in a single night, are also driving up the city’s numbers.