Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Crime declines nationally, but not in Manitoba
Police-reported crime in Canada declined overall in 2009 -- but not in Manitoba.
And the severity of offences committed in the province is increasing as well, according to Statistics Canada.
The agency said nearly 2.2-million crimes were reported to Canadian police in 2009, about 43,000 fewer than in 2008. Car thefts, break-ins and mischief cases accounted for most of the decline.
The crime rate, a measure of the volume of crime reported to police, fell three per cent last year and was 17 per cent lower than a decade ago.
But in Manitoba, the crime severity index increased by two per cent, and the violent crime (homicide, sexual assaults, assaults, robbery, criminal harassment, etc.) severity index went up by 10 per cent from 2008 to 2009.
With 57 homicides in 2009, Manitoba reported the highest homicide rate among the provinces for the third consecutive year. Manitoba has a homicide rate of 4.7 per every 100,000 residents. Only the Yukon and Northwest Territories ranked worse.
The only major drop the province recorded was in motor vehicle thefts, down 25 per cent from year to year.
Among Canadian cities, Winnipeg ranked as one of the worst for violent crime. The city reported a 15 per cent increase in violent crime severity in 2009.
The report said violent crime in Canada is declining, but to a lesser extent than overall crime.
Police identified about 165,000 youth aged 12 to 17 accused of a criminal offence in 2009, a slight drop from 2008. Both the numbers and the seriousness of youth crimes have generally been declining since 2001.
While the statistics show a long-term decline in crime rates, the federal government continues to stress the threat.
Public Safety Minister Vic Toews' own web site says: "Unfortunately, our safe streets and healthy communities are increasingly under threat of gun, gang and drug violence."'
Statistics Canada said its data are drawn from a census survey of all crimes known to, and substantiated by, police services, which uses a national standard of common categories and definitions.
The crime severity index weighs the seriousness of offences in accordance with court sentences; the higher the average sentence, the higher the weight for that offence.