Anecdotally, we all know crime's been on the rise in Guelph lately. You can't leave your bike unattended anywhere in the city because if you do there's a pretty good chance you'll be walking home, and you can't leave anything in your car if you park downtown because you're reasonably likely to come back to find your window busted out so someone could steal your copy of Big Shiny Tunes 2.

Unfortunately, there's no quick fix. The council has been so ineffective on this issue for so long that we're past the point of merely slapping a band-aid on the problem and hoping it goes away. Burying their heads in the sand didn't work out, and now we're all paying the price. Lowering the crime rate in Guelph should be one of the new council's top priorities, and if I'm elected, I'll do whatever I can to bring this issue to the forefront.

For those of you who like hard data, I tracked down the numbers, and they're not good:

The crime rate in Ontario has been relatively stable for the past few years. Not so in Guelph, where the total crime rate grew by 28% from 2014 to 2017, putting it a solid 27% above the provincial average.

Violent crime paints a slightly different picture. While we're about 2% below the provincial average, violent crime in Ontario has been generally trending downward since around 2000, whereas in Guelph it's up 24% since 2014 and nearly 37% since 2000.

Property crime is up almost 25% since 2014, more than 34% above average.

Drug crimes have only risen 9% since 2014, but in the province as a whole, they fell by more than 25%, so we sit an incredible 55% above average. To be fair, more than half of that is made up of cannabis possession, and as of this fall that (generally) won't be a crime any more. But, even without cannabis in the mix, we're still 43% above the provincial rate.

Finally, the Crime Severity Index (CSI), which is a Statistics Canada measure of both the volume and severity of offences, increased from 48.91 in 2014 to 64.25 in 2017. Of the 32 cities on StatsCan's list, we're the only one where the CSI is higher now than it was in 2006 when they started keeping track. That is unacceptable.