SASKATOON -- Saskatchewan’s Crime Severity Index (CSI) rose by five per cent last year to a rating of 148.2, the highest among all provinces.

The newly-released numbers reflect crime reported by the police in 2019.

In the index, crimes are assigned a weight based on their seriousness, which is based on actual sentences handed down by the courts in all provinces and territories

Saskatchewan had an increase of 21 homicides, according to Statistics Canada data. The increase was mainly due to homicides outside of Saskatoon and Regina.

Saskatoon and Regina were both ranked in the top five out of Canada’s 35 cities with 100,000 people or more. Saskatoon is ranked fifth, down from fourth in 2018.

Saskatoon’s CSI stayed nearly the same, now sitting at 117.3. However, the city’s violent crime severity rose by about 24 per cent.

"In 2019, we saw an increase in homicides, of course, in the community. That was widely discussed and publicized. But there was also an increase in sexual offences and robberies,” said Saskatoon Police Service Chief Troy Cooper.

Prince Albert is ranked sixth out of cities with a population of 10,000 or more. That’s the same as in 2018.

Prince Albert’s CSI rose by nearly 17 per cent to 279.58.

Chief Jon Bergen said while the number is concerning, it’s not necessarily reflective of people living in Prince Albert.

About 30 per cent of people Prince Albert police arrest and charge are from outside of the community, he said.

"If we were measuring against what our community actually serves for a population, I think we'd have a much more accurate reflection of where we sit amongst the other comparatives,” said Bergen.

He said the police service is focusing on reducing driving forces of crime, such as mental health, addictions and poverty.