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The east/west discrepancies are still evident when neighbourhoods are compared. The ten neighbourhoods with the highest crime rates are all located west of the South Saskatchewan River (Map 12; see tables in Appendix A for complete data on all neighbourhoods).
Two of the neighbourhoods that recorded the highest crime rates are located immediately west of the Central business district.1 Pleasant Hill and Riversdale were respectively second and third in terms of their crime rates, with close to 300 incidents per 1,000 residents and workers (Table 4). In 2001, almost one-quarter of the City of Saskatoon's violent incidents were reported in these two neighbourhoods, which also accounted for almost one-quarter of assaults, sexual offences or robberies and about one-seventh of incidents involving break and enter, motor vehicle theft or mischief.
Count of police-reported crime incidents in selected high- and low-crime neighbourhoods, City of Saskatoon, 2001
These are older neighbourhoods where over half of the dwellings were built prior to 1961 and 15% required major repairs (Table 5). The average property value was considerably less than that for the municipality as a whole. These neighbourhoods are also characterized by the disadvantaged situation of their residents. Average employment income was $21,507 and government transfers made up 38% of the total income of residents. Over one-quarter of the labour force in Pleasant Hill and Riversdale was unemployed in 2001, 63% were part of a low-income family and 29% were part of a lone-parent family. Lastly, Aboriginal peoples make up close to half of the population.
The neighbourhoods adjacent to Riversdale or Pleasant Hill also have crime rates twice as high as the municipal average: Westmount, Mount Royal, West Industrial, Caswell Hill, King George and Meadowgreen. These neighbourhoods were also characterized by an unfavourable economic situation, although one that was less disadvantaged than the one observed in Riversdale and Pleasant Hill.
A little farther west, Confederation Suburban Centre had the highest crime rate of all neighbourhoods with 302 incidents per 1,000 residents and workers. This neighbourhood was mainly commercial (i.e., shopping centres). It ranked first in terms of the number of shoplifting incidents reported, with over one in five of all shoplifting incidents taking place in this neighbourhood. The neighbourhood also has higher crime rates than the municipal average for almost all types of crime.
With 1,695 incidents, the Central business district ranks second behind Pleasant Hill (1,904) in terms of reported incidents. However, this neighbourhood ranks first in terms of property crimes and, more specifically, incidents of theft (excluding motor vehicle thefts and shoplifting). In fact, 8.5% of incidents of theft were reported in that neighbourhood.
The Central business district neighbourhood is characterized by its economic function. In 2001, it had nearly six jobs for every resident within a relatively small geographic area. However, the downtown area is more favourable when it comes to its crime rate. With a crime rate of 99 incidents per 1,000 residents and workers, the Central business district ranked fifteenth among Saskatoon neighbourhoods.
Only six neighbourhoods with a crime rate higher than the city's average are located on the east side of the South Saskatchewan River. Three of them (Greystone Heights, College Park and Grosvenor Park) border the 8th Street commercial strip, while University of Saskatchewan – South Management Area is closely located to it. Nearly one-fifth of reported incidents included a shoplifting incident and close to a third of incidents included other thefts (excluding shoplifting and motor vehicle theft). The Sutherland Industrial neighbourhood had more than five jobs for one resident and 60% of the incidents that were reported within its boundaries included a break and enter or a theft (excluding shoplifting, motor vehicle theft and other theft). Finally, the crime rate in Nutana, which was slightly above Saskatoon's average, is probably explained by its centrality (it faces the downtown area).
The low crime neighbourhoods (those with fewer than 25 incidents per 1,000 residents and workers) are located in City of Saskatoon's outlying neighbourhoods, except for the University of Saskatchewan Management Area. It is worth noting that these neighbourhoods' official boundaries differ from the boundaries defined in this work. These neighbourhoods are not generally mixed functionally, i.e. they have either many workers and few residents or many residents and few workers.
The industrial neighbourhoods of South West Industrial, CN Industrial and the University of Saskatchewan Management Area fall into the first group (which includes many workers but few residents). The first two areas by themselves accounted for 12.6% of the manufacturing jobs, while the University of Saskatchewan Management Area included almost one-third of all jobs in the health care, social assistance and educational services sectors.
The Lakeridge, Silverspring, Briarwood, Stone bridge, University Heights S.C. and Arbor Creek neighbourhoods fall into the second group (which includes many residents but few workers). Residents of these neighbourhoods enjoy a favourable socio-economic situation. Over one quarter of their residents held an undergraduate degree and most of them were members of a household occupied by the owner. They had an average employment income 50% higher than that of the residents of the City of Saskatoon. In contrast, the proportion of Aboriginal persons, people living alone, lone-parent families, members of low-income families, and the unemployment rate were significantly lower than elsewhere.
These were also relatively young neighbourhoods: 27% of their population was under the age of 15 years, while only 5% were 65 or older. None of their dwellings were built before 1961 and two-thirds were built after 1990. The average property value in these neighbourhoods was substantially higher.
- In this study, "central business district" refers to a specific neighbourhood defined by the City of Saskatoon and "downtown area" refers more broadly to the area in and around that neighbourhood.
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