According to Statistics Canada, Canada’s crime rate increased for a fourth year in a row. The overall crime rate was found to have gone up by two per cent in 2018 over the previous year, however, it is still lower than the rate of crime 10 years ago.
The crime rate report entitled “Police-reported Crime Statistics in Canada, 2018” published by Statistics Canada is based upon data obtained from Canadian police forces, and does not include any crimes that were not reported to the police.
POLICE-REPORTED CRIME STATISTICS IN CANADA, 2018
Statistics Canada has been collecting information from all Canadian police services regarding criminal incidents reported to the police since 1962. In 2018, there were more than two million police-reported Criminal Code incidents.
In Canada, there were several significant criminal incidents that occurred in 2018 resulting in the loss of numerous lives and numerous personal injuries. One of these incidents was the attack on pedestrians that were deliberately struck by a van in the North York City Centre business district, which resulted in 10 homicides and 13 victims of attempted homicide.
Toronto was also impacted by a deadly shooting on Danforth Avenue in the city’s Greektown, leaving 2 dead and 13 victims of attempted homicide. In Saskatchewan, there was a devastating motor vehicle accident involving the Humboldt Broncos, a junior ice hockey team, which resulted in 16 deaths and 13 victims of serious injuries.
The legalization of cannabis and the various amendments to the Criminal Code hrelating to impaired driving, were two significant legislative changes in 2018 that impacted the crime rate statistics in Canada. Both of these legislative amendments introduced new types of offences.
The severity of crime, also known as the Crime Severity Index (a measure of the severity of police-reported crime), has also increased by two per cent in 2018. However, both the crime rate and the Crime Severity Index were down 17 per cent compared to the rates in 2008.
The increase in the severity of crime from 2017 to 2018 was in relation to higher rates of fraud, shoplifting and other thefts.
SEXUAL ASSAULT STATISTICS
Statistics Canada found that for the second year in a row the rate of sexual assaults were found to have significantly increased from 2017 to 2018 in Canada. There were more than 28,700 police-reported sexual assaults, resulting in an increase of 15% in 2018, following an increase of 13% in 2017.
Sexual assaults were found to represent 7% of all violent crimes in 2018.
The report written by Statistics Canada indicates that the rate of sexual assault reported is “likely an underestimation of the true extent of sexual assault in Canada, as these type of offences often go unreported to police”.
Homicide rates in Canada declined by four per cent in 2018, reversing a trend over the last few years of increasing rates of homicide. According to Statistics Canada, large decreases in homicides in Alberta and British Columbia were reported, while Ontario homicides were found to have substantially increased. The increased numbers in Ontario were largely attributed to three significant incidents that resulted in 20 homicides and 26 attempted murders (this included the victims of the serial homicides that were identified in 2018).
Toronto was found to have experienced a substantial increase in homicides and the city itself was found to be experiencing its highest crime rate since 1991. There were 142 reported homicides in Toronto in 2018 (49 more than in 2017).
According to the data, there were 157 gang-related homicides, which made up 25% of all homicides in Canada in 2018. This number had decreased by 5% from 2017 following three years of increases.
Cases of police-reported fraud was found to have increased for the seventh year in a row. There was a 12% increase between 2017 and 2018, and a 46% increase from 10 years ago.
Fraud can be defined as any form of dishonest or deceptive behaviour that is intended to establish a risk or loss. Some define it as “theft by lies”. A few examples include mortgage fraud, identify theft, forgery, computer crimes, tax fraud and embezzlement.
In 2018, there were over 129,400 cases of fraud reported by police. Police services report that increases of fraud may be the result of increased access for reporting fraud online. For example, online or telephone scans, such as the “Canada Revenue Agency” scam and pre-paid gift card scams.
VIOLENT FIREARM OFFENCES
There are a number of Criminal Code offences that involve the use of firearms, including homicide, robbery, assault, sexual assault, discharging a firearm with intent and pointing a firearm.
According to the research by Statistics Canada, there were 7,477 violent crimes that involved the use of a firearm in 2018. This was a 5% decrease from 2017, a departure from four years of increases in these types of offences.
The crime severity index is a measure of the severity of police-reported crime, with offences weighted and those more serious given more weight. A region’s crime severity index is calculated by adding up the weighted offences and dividing it by the population to end up with a score that’s standardized to 100.
At Affleck & Barrison LLP we are prepared to defend your rights, no matter what the charges are. We have extensive experience in defending clients in a variety of criminal law matters. If you need representation or have questions about your legal rights, please contact our firm online or at 905-404-1947.