Canadian crime rate hits lowest level in 40 years as Tories enact harsh new policies
OTTAWA — New figures show Canada’s crime rate dipped to its lowest level in 40 years last year, the very year the federal government enacted some of its harshest tough-on-crime policies.
Just under two million criminal incidents were reported to police in 2012, about 36,000 fewer than the previous year, according to a Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics study on police-reported crime.
The decline is primarily attributed to decreases in non-violent crimes. In fact, 2012 marked the ninth consecutive year that both the volume and severity of crime was down.
According to the study, 543 homicides were reported across the country, 55 fewer than in 2011. Youth crime was also down.
“As a result, the homicide rate fell to its lowest level since 1966,” the report concluded.
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“However, 11 more attempted murders and 21 more other offences causing death were reported in 2012 than in 2011.”
Sexual offences against children, extortion, violent firearm offences and non-homicide offences causing death were among a handful violent crimes that increased
The number of terrorism-related offences, identity fraud incidents and arsons also rose last year.
Overall crime rates dipped in most provinces with the exception of New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. Crime rates increased in the territories.
However, 11 more attempted murders and 21 more other offences causing death were reported in 2012 than in 2011
As for major cities, Kelowna, B.C., and Regina recorded the highest police reported crime rates, while Toronto and Quebec reported the lowest. The most violent cities were Winnipeg, Saskatoon and Thunder Bay, which also had the highest homicide rate.
Although crime rates have been falling for years, the federal government passed a controversial omnibus crime bill early last year. It set a number of mandatory minimum penalties for drug trafficking and sex crimes against children and got tough on pot producers, young offenders, Canadians imprisoned abroad seeking a transfer to a Canadian institution and ex-cons seeking a pardon.
The government also scrapped the controversial long gun registry last year.