Crime rates up in Canada for fourth year in a row

For a fourth year in a row police-reported crime are rising. However, these numbers are still 17 percent lower than those a decade ago.
Samuel Helguero Montreal, QC

For a fourth year in a row police-reported crime continued to shoot up in 2018, a report from Statistics Canada highlights.

Among the crimes that have been marked by an increase are offences like fraud and shoplifting. Sexual assault without a weapon or bodily harm and theft of over $5,000 have had a notable upsoar of 15 percent.

Of these sexual assaults, 98 percent were classified as “level 1,” meaning no weapons or detectable bodily harm was involved in the reported incident.

Across the country, homicide has mostly fallen. Alberta faced a 38 percent decrease, and other provinces like Quebec, British Columbia, and Nova Scotia, fell significantly in this respect as well.

Nonetheless, Ontario did receive an uptick in homicides. The report warns that this is likely because of the discovery of victims from a serial murder, the attack of pedestrians by a van in Toronto’s business district, and a shooting in Greektown.

More than one in five victims of these homicides were indigenous. As the report reads, “First Nation, Métis and Inuit, accounted for 5% of Canada’s population in 2018, but 22% of homicide victims.” Although small, the increase in the number of murdered indigenous women also increased.

Organized crime was responsible for much of the homicide and conspiracy to commit murder in 2018.

Otherwise, Hate-motivated crimes have fallen. Hate crimes had increased radically in 2017 by 47 percent and have now decreased by 13 percent. A significant spike in hate crimes directed against Muslims two years ago, has allowed a 50 percent decline in hate crimes directed against the Muslim community.

Hate crimes against blacks, Jews, and the LGBTQ+ community have also fallen. These deviations from last years statistics were mainly felt in the domain of non-violent hate crimes, as opposed to violent crimes which only fell by 7 percent.

The report also underlines the large death toll of 11,500 from opioid overdoses that occurred between 2016 and 2018. Opioid drug offences have totalled 2,490 in 2018. In BC these were particularly high.

Especially alarming are towns like Kelowna, BC, where 1 in 1’000 members of the population have been charged with opioid-related offences.

Statistics Canada warns that 31 percent of violent and non-violent incidents go unreported, meaning the crimes rates they have recorded are certainly underestimates.

Indeed, with respect to hate crimes, they caution “Police data on hate-motivated crimes include only those incidents that come to the attention of police services.”

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Samuel Helguero
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